He was a Marxist, an Australian Rules football player, an eccentric and by all accounts one of the best journalists the Northern Territory has had.

Former reporter John Loizou died on Wednesday night in Perth after a long illness. He was aged 70.

"He was a Marxist for most of his life since he was a fairly young guy," NT News journalist Nigel Adlam said.

But Loizou got on well with conservative politicians too, Adlam said, because he would always tell both sides of a story.

"There were never any complaints about his accuracy, although there were plenty of complaints from the rich and famous that he shouldn't have written the story," he said.

Well-known NT journalist Chips Mackinolty, who also worked with Loizou, said he was one of the last "old school" reporters who would not file a story until he was certain of its accuracy.

"He would often rail against 'false deadlines' that editors would put on you," Mackinolty recounted on Friday.

"He was just a real legend and a great Territory journalist."

Loizou also loved Aussie rules football and played for Carlton reserves in Melbourne before moving to the NT in the 1970s.

He leaves his wife Cree and two sons from his first marriage, Brendan and Damian.

A wake in memory of Loizou is expected to be held in Darwin next week.