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DJ John Peel is dead

The veteran DJ John Peel has died aged 65. He suffered a heart attack shortly after being taken ill during a working holiday in the city of Cuzco, Peru, with his wife Sheila.

Peel, a much-loved DJ champion of new music over three decades, presented the award-winning Radio 4 programme Home Truths and a late night weekday show on Radio 1.

The Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said: "John Peel was a broadcasting legend. I am deeply saddened by his death, as are all who work at Radio 1.

"John's influence has towered over the development of popular music for nearly four decades and his contribution to modern music and music culture is immeasurable.

"Hopeful bands all over the world sent their demo tapes to John knowing that he really cared. His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years.

"In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today. He will be hugely missed."

His biography on the BBC website says: "John Robert Parker Ravenscoft, better known to the world as John Peel, was born in Heswall near Liverpool shortly before war broke out in 1939. He attended Shrewsbury School and as a teenager his life was changed by hearing Elvis Presley singing Heartbreak Hotel. After National Service between 1957 and 1959 he went to America where he was able to take advantage of Beatlemania and his Liverpudlian connections to become a DJ for WRR radio in Dallas. Returning to England in 1967 he joined Radio London and then Radio 1."

His first regular programme on Radio 4 was Offspring between 1995 and 1997 (Sony Gold Award). In 1998 he became the presenter of Radio 4's Home Truths (which won four Sony Radio awards in 1999). He was married with four children and lived in Stowmarket.