Keith Floyd, the chef with a relaxed presentation style who brought the phrase "a little slurp" to television screens, has died aged 65.
He died at his partner's Dorset home yesterday, according to the co-writer of his autobiography, James Steen.
The BBC reported that Floyd had been diagnosed with cancer in June.
With his jaunty manner and gritty alcohol-fuelled voice, he was one of the most popular and successful of an entire tribe of TV chefs.
He left viewers with the impression that he lived a hedonistic life, and was often to be seen supping copiously from glasses of wine as he demonstrated his versatile prowess as a cook.
Floyd suffered a health scare in October 2002, when he suffered a stroke at the age of 58. And in July, he revealed he was suffering from bowel cancer.
He was born in Somerset in 1943. After leaving Wellington School in Somerset, he began his professional life as a journalist in Bristol.
But after watching the film Zulu, he decided to join the Army, becoming a second lieutenant in the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, then stationed in Germany.
It was while he was in the Army that he persuaded the officers' mess cook to experiment with various kinds of recipes and to produce, for instance, "Gigot d'agneau Romarin" for their table rather than just roast lamb and two veg. Floyd used to play a major role in the kitchen and so-called "Floyd nights" were something special in the mess.
After leaving the Army, Floyd worked in London and France as a barman, dish-washer and vegetable peeler as well as undertaking many other kitchen duties.
By 1971, Floyd owned three restaurants in Bristol which he eventually sold, and he then bought from the proceeds a boat called "Flirty". He subsequently spent two years with friends cruising the Mediterranean.
In France, he exported wine to the United Kingdom and imported antiques to France before opening another restaurant near Avignon in France. In 1991, he bought Floyd's Inn in Tuckenhay, Devon. He sold up in 1996, moved to Kinsale in Ireland, and then in 1997 moved to Marbella in Spain.
Throughout all these restless moves, Floyd was running a highly successful TV career - jokey, self-deprecating and totally unpompous. His knowledge of cooking was profound and extensive.
But it had been a chance meeting in 1984 with a TV producer in his Bristol Bistro which led to the opportunity to make his first television programme, Floyd On Fish, which lasted all of 10 minutes.
Very soon after that, the BBC telephoned and offered him his first seven-part series, also called Floyd On Fish.
Since then, Floyd completed numerous television series, including Floyd Uncorked, covering cooking and drinking habits from all parts of the globe. He also wrote more than 20 books, many of which went straight into the best-seller lists.
At its peak, Floyd On... was must-watch TV and was broadcast in 40 countries.
His TV trademarks included his skewed bow-tie, the ever-constant glass of red wine in his hand, and chatting to, or even telling off, his cameramen while demonstrating a recipe.
He later complained that he had been sacked from the BBC after making a programme in which ostriches were shown eating ostrich eggs.
"I couldn't believe it." he said. "None of these boys - Rick Stein, Gary Rhodes - would be working without the Floyd thing."
Floyd was the original "bad-boy chef" whose influence continues today.
Stein's first appearance on TV was a walk-on role in Floyd On Fish (1985).
In the '90s, Jean-Christophe Novelli was Floyd's head chef at one of his restaurants, the Maltsters Arms.
Floyd, according to friends, blamed Novelli for "stuffing too much foie gras in the pigs' trotters" when the restaurant closed in 1996.
But he later admitted he did not have a head for business.
In later years, Floyd's fame as "the original modern celebrity chef" was eclipsed by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay.
Some of his TV series were broadcast on channel Five - Floyd Around The World (2000) and Floyd's India (2001).
Later, he appeared in episodes of Soapstar Superchef, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and a one-off food series for This Morning.
His last TV appearance was broadcast last night on Channel 4.
In the show, Keith Meets Keith, Keith Allen searched for his hero, Keith Allen, finally meeting up with him in rural France.
Off the TV, Floyd delighted his fans with one-man stage shows.
Repeats of his programmes were still being screened on satellite TV around the world, of which Floyd complained: "I don't get a penny."
Floyd is said to have once gone bankrupt after personally guaranteeing a £36,000 drinks order while running Floyd's Inn Pub, in Devon.
In 2004, Floyd was banned from driving for 32 months and fined £1,500 after crashing his car into another vehicle while three-and-a-half times the alcohol limit.
Two years later he was diagnosed with malnutrition, which he blamed on getting back to hotels late at night and constant jetlag.
He also suffered from a mystery illness which he caught in Thailand, where he opened a restaurant.
A hotel manager had invited Floyd to work in Thailand after overhearing him suggesting to his wife that they move to the country.
Floyd devised the menus while the hotel, in an exclusive resort in Phuket, retained financial responsibility.
Ironically for a TV chef, Floyd insisted he hated talking about food.
Speaking about a party thrown by the late drummer Jim Capaldi, he said: "Every rock'n'roller going was there. George Harrison opened the door.
"And the first thing he asked me was what I thought about vegetarian stock cubes. Paul Young wanted a menu for his tour. 'Leave it out, mate'."
Floyd split with his fourth wife Tess, who he married in 1996, just before Christmas 2007 and had moved from their main home in Avignon, France.
It was while in a bar in Stoke on Trent that he collapsed, which was blamed by friends on depression over the split and exhaustion from working in Thailand.
Floyd has a son, Patrick, with his first wife, Jesmond.
His second marriage in 1983 was to Julie Hatcher, the mother of his daughter, Poppy.
He proposed to his third wife, Shaunagh, after meeting her in the pub four hours beforehand.
She was 23 years younger than him and the marriage, which lasted three years, ended in 1994 when he accused her of forgetting his birthday and threw her and the regulars out of his pub.
In December 2007, Floyd looked back at his life and said: "There is Keith, who is just a cook and doesn't want to be famous. He wants to lead a simple life, go out to dinner with his mates, go fishing.
"Then there is this other person, Floyd or Floydie. He is universally popular.
"People are so obsessed with Floydie that Keith can never lead a quiet life. It is unjust. I don't want to be Floyd.
"If I've influenced people, then I have. But I've got no idea who Floyd is. Not a clue," he said.Reuse content