According to Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily, Tsankov died immediately after gunmen opened fire on him in Alexander Stamboliyski Boulevard at about 12.30pm next to a food chain restaurant.
Tsankov and two others were attacked by two men who opened fire and then escaped in the direction of Sveta Nedelya church near the Sheraton Hotel.
Tsankov’s two companions were taken to hospital with slight injuries.
Tsankov has been a popular feature in Bulgaria’s gossip columns in the yellow media over the past 10 years. As a radio host at a number of stations, he faced court actions because he allegedly had cheated people by fraudulently promising them advertising and other benefits.
Many people complained that he owed them money connected to sponsorship contracts, an allegation that he had always denied but spent sever days under arrest in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
Recently, he made television appearances claiming that he was close to many of Bulgaria’s underworld bosses and knew a lot about their moves and internal quarrels. In one interview, he claimed he had had a meeting with Marko Milosevic, son of former Yugoslav ruler Slobodan Milosevic.
Tsankov claimed that prosecutors used his allegations as a basis for their investigations.
In 2003 a bomb exploded next to Tsankov’s apartment in Sofia. After that, he employed bodyguards whom, he said, were members of the National Protection Service. This led to the resignation of the service then-head general Dimitar Vladimirov.
In November 2009, police said that Stefan Bonev, described in Bulgarian media reports as a drug boss, had been arrested after threatening Tsankov. At the time, Tsankov said that the threats were linked to his as-yet unpublished book about organised crime in Bulgaria.