Acclaimed television producer, Jim Paratore, who launched the TMZ website and produced The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Rosie O’Donnell Show, has died at the age of 58.
Mr Paratore is widely credited with re-establishing Ms DeGeneres back on television screens after a hostile reaction to her coming out in 1997.
He suffered a heart attack during a cycling holiday in France, the BBC reports.
The producer spent much of his career at Warner Brothers Television, where he produced several shows, including The Bachelor and High School Reunion.
Ms DeGeneres immediately took to Twitter to pay tribute to the producer, saying: “My friend, producer and champion Jim Paratore died today. He gave me a chance when no one else would. I love you, Jim.”
The TMZ co-founder, Harvey Levin, also took to Twitter, where he wrote: “Jim was a mentor to me for many years. He never feared a good, unconventional idea … he reveled in rebellion.”
Mr Paratore is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.