Mark Mellor passed away in hospital last Saturday, with his family beside him. He leaves a wife, Firefly CEO Claire Walker, and children Toby, Robyn and Max.
His wife said: 'Mark served Firefly for more than 23 years and was instrumental in guiding, shaping and building the business. He was a great businessman, an excellent PR operator and a dedicated dad. He will be missed by many.'
During a 27-year career, Mellor worked with Richard Branson and business guru James Caan, and helped launch lastminute.com, BBC News online and which.co.uk. He also held a key role within the PRCA, working with its best practice committee.
Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive, said: 'Mark was an intelligent and experienced professional who made a huge contribution to the industry. He was also a nice guy, funny and vibrant, which makes it incredibly sad that this happened when he was so young.'
Full details of the funeral, to be held in Ealing, west London, are still to be confirmed.