Journalist, actor and author Rika Vayianni, born Marika Zoula, passed away aged 56 following a battle with cancer.

Vayianni was the daughter of journalist Odysseas Zoulas and of Varvara Drakou. She was raised by her mother and Drakou's second husband, sports veteran journalist Yianns Diakogiannis, whose combined first names provided her with her pen name.

Rika Vayianni studied acting at the National Theater's school of drama and acted in theater, film and television productions while also writing for magazines and other mass media. She also served as editor in chief of the Greek edition of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Among her multiple activities as journalist were producing shows for national broadcaster ERT from 1997 to 2012 and co-founding the news site Protagon with other Greek journalists.

She was married to Nikos Stefanis and they have a son, Odysseas.

Messages of condolences were issued by political leaders and the Athens press union (ESIEA).