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Steve Wright, BBC radio presenter, has died

Veteran BBC radio presenter and broadcasting "legend" Steve Wright has died at the age of 69.

Wright hosted shows on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades and was last on air hosting a pre-recorded Valentine's show on Sunday, the BBC said. He died on Monday.

Paying tribute, his family said in a statement: "It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

"In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence and his father Richard.

"Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK's most enduring and popular radio personalities."

Tributes paid to Steve Wright - follow updates

Bosses at the BBC also paid tribute, with Lorna Clarke, director of music, describing Wright as "an extraordinary broadcaster - someone audiences loved, and many of us looked up to".

She added: "He loved radio, and he loved the BBC, but most of all... he loved his audience."

'The Godfather': BBC presenters pay tribute

Former BBC radio colleagues including Ken Bruce, Simon Mayo and Tony Blackburn joined the tributes, with Mayo describing the DJ as "one of the greats" and "a fabulous, creative whirlwind of a presenter".

Sara Cox, who was on air on Radio 2 when the news was announced, said staff were "all absolutely devastated and shocked and blindsided" following Wright's death.

"Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster, a really, really kind person," she said. "He was witty, he was warm, and he was a huge, huge part of the Radio 2 family, and I know my fellow DJs will all be absolutely shattered, too."

Radio 2 breakfast presenter Zoe Ball said on X that life would not be the same, while Jo Whiley described him as "a legend" and the broadcaster's broadcaster".

Scott Mills said Wright was "the best to ever do it" as he shared his memories of working with him.

Dame Esther Rantzen, who was interviewed by Wright on several occasions, said he was a unique talent whose listeners often "relied on his company".

"He created a kind of club which whether he was interviewing you or whether you were enjoying it as a listener, you looked forward to joining every day," she said.

"It is a very rare quality, and he made it sound easy. It was frequently very funny, and when he left his daily afternoon show he really knocked a hole in the day for many of us who relied on his company. He will be a real loss."

More than 40 years at the BBC

Born in Greenwich, south London, in 1954, Wright's started his career at the BBC as a clerk, leaving the corporation to join Thames Valley Radio to start his broadcasting career in 1976.

Four years later, he was back at the BBC, presenting weekend programmes on Radio 1 before launching the show that would ultimately define his career, Steve Wright In The Afternoon, in 1981.

He had a brief stint hosting the Radio 1 breakfast show for a year from 1994, before Chris Evans was moved into the role, and then left to join Talk Radio - but was back at the BBC once again in 1996.

He began presenting a Saturday programme and Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2 from 1996, before launching his afternoon show in 1999.

Following schedule changes at the station the slot was taken over by Mills in 2022, but Wright stayed with Radio 2 to present Sunday Love Songs as well as a series of specials and podcasts.

A DJ whose audience 'loved him deeply'

BBC director general Tim Davie said staff were "heartbroken" to hear of his death, which comes just weeks after he was made an MBE for services to radio.

"Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades," Mr Davie said. "He was the ultimate professional - passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners.

"This was deservedly recognised in the New Year Honours list with his MBE for services to radio. No one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences' faces. They loved him deeply. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly."

Radio 2 said it planned to celebrate Wright's life with a range of programming across the station.

His death comes just a month after that of Annie Nightingale, Radio 1's first female DJ.

Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: "Steve was the first presenter I ever produced more than 20 years ago, and I remember the pure amazement I felt, sitting opposite this legendary broadcaster whose shows I had listened to and marvelled at whilst growing up in Hull.

"For all of us at Radio 2, he was a wonderful colleague and a friend with his excellent sense of humour, generosity with his time, and endless wise words. We were lucky to have him with us for all these decades, and we will miss his talent and his friendship terribly."