Canon Michael Saward found dead in hotel room

Michael Saward has died aged 82.

Prominent Anglican priest Canon Michael Saward was found dead in his hotel room in Switzerland on Sunday morning, Christian Today has learned.

The 82-year-old was on holiday at the time. His body was found by hotel staff.

Born in London, Saward was ordained at Canterbury Cathedral by Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher in 1956 and went on to serve in the General Synod for 20 years. He was also chairman of the Billy Graham London Mission '89 Media Task Group, and served on the Church of England Evangelical Council. His final full-time post was as Canon Treasurer of St Paul's Cathedral in London, from which he retired in 2000.

He wrote a number of books, including the controversial 'And so to bed', which caused enough traction to see his books withdrawn from sale by Christian bookstore chain CLC. His autobiography, 'A faint streak of humility' was so named after the former bishop of Croydon, John Hughes, said of Saward: "You know, I think I once detected a faint streak of humility in him!"

Saward was also an accomplished hymn writer, best known for 'Christ triumphant, ever reigning'. He regularly wrote letters to The Times and The Telegraph, most recently regarding the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's funeral. He queried a photograph taken of the former prime minister's coffin, noting that while the caption suggested it was taken at St Paul's Cathedral, it was in fact taken in Westminster Hall.

"Having been Canon Treasurer of the Cathedral for almost 10 years I can guarantee that the photo was not taken at St Paul's," Saward wrote.

In 1986 he was badly beaten in an attack at his vicarage in Ealing, during which his daughter Jill was raped and her boyfriend also beaten in an attack that became notorious for the lenient sentences given to the perpetrators.

His wife, Jackie, whom he met at university, died in 2009. He leaves behind four children, Rachel, Joe, Jill and Sue; as well as seven grandchildren and a great-grandson.