File Photo: Tony Twine.

Tributes have flooded social networks as colleagues and friends woke up on Monday morning to the news of Tony Twine’s death.

Economist Twine passed away from a heart attack in Joburg’s Milpark hospital on Sunday, after being diagnosed with an illness a short while ago.

He was 57 years old.

Twine was a director and senior economist at Econometrix, an economic research provider, and a familiar voice over the airways and in print over such matters. He was a frequently used expert opinion in the news world.

Twine’s passing comes barely a week after he released a report - which energy giant Shell had sponsored - promoting the monetary benefits of Karoo shale-gas exploration, called fracking.

In the report he said: “This is big stuff in terms of contribution to GDP, in terms of employment potential. Even if the gas finds turn out to be a lot smaller than the estimate... we are talking about a mighty big fish.”

The proposed plan has been heavily criticised by environmentalists as being damaging and centred on money-making.

A fair majority of those who shared their memories of Twine recalled him as a person who overcame personal disabilities to follow his passion for strategy in economic issues.

Controversial columnist David Bullard called Twine: “...that rare thing....a thoroughly decent man of integrity with not a malicious bone in his body. And an appalling punster.”

Bullard took to Twitter to share his sentiments, as did numerous other people.

“Tony Twine” trended on the social networking platform on Monday.

Tom Robbins (@BaragwanathBiz), a financial journalist said Twine was “ economic commentator who cut through the noise. We are poorer for his passing.”

Goitse Konopi (@goitsekonopi) tweeted: “Tony Twine was one of the most thorough and analytical economists in the country #RIP”

According to Econometrix, the Pinelands High School and UCT graduate studied further at Unisa while working for Mobil Oil Southern Africa in 1976.

“He worked extensively on demand models for gasoline and diesel. He later joined Datsun Nissan, where he successively worked as Senior Economist and Market Research Manager. Much of his time was spent on developing data systems, as well as creating and refining forecasting systems,” the organisation said.

Twine joined Econometrix in 1983, becoming a director in 1986.

“Although best known for his work in the multi-faceted motor industry, he has contributed to the development, either in whole or in part, of many of the forecasting models which Econometrix has developed. Since 2002, he has supervised and contributed to Econometrix’s Consumer Market Trends product, and has conceived and created several large scale forecasting models and accompanying intelligence packages for major public enterprises. He has contributed to national government on energy policy, as well as having been intimately involved in the creation of development policies for several government departments.”

The organisation’s website further adds: “Over the past 15 years, he has enjoyed contributing long running editorial pieces published from time to time by Reuters, Intelligence Magazine, the SA Journal of International Trade and Investment, Professional Management Review, Location South Africa (published by Investment SA), “South Africa”, the journal of the President’s International Marketing Committee, and Auto Insight. He has also contributed political analysis to several overseas consultancies, including The Economist Intelligence Unit.”

Details of his funeral are expected to be released soon.

Twine is survived by his wife Marilyn. - IOL