Jimmy Savile, fixer of dreams, dies at 84

The DJ, television presenter and fundraiser is found dead two days before his 85th birthday

The boadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile, best known for the popular television programme Jim'll Fix It, was found dead at his home in Leeds yesterday. He would have celebrated his 85th birthday tomorrow. Police found his body after being called to his flat on the edge of Roundhay Park at 12.10pm. His nephews, Roger Foster and Ian McKenna, said their uncle had died peacefully in his sleep.

Tributes poured in for the former DJ, TV presenter and charity fundraiser, who was the first host of the BBC's Top of the Pops in 1964 and also co-presented the final show in 2006. DJ Dave Lee Travis told Sky News that Savile was a "larger than life" character. "We are all going to be worse off without him around," he said. The broadcaster Stuart Hall told BBC Radio 5 Live that Savile was "unique" but "a loner".

The BBC director general Mark Thompson said he was "very sad" to hear of Savile's death. "From Top of the Pops to Jim'll Fix It, Jimmy's unique style entertained generations of BBC audiences," he said. "Like millions of viewers and listeners, we shall miss him greatly."

An elderly woman who had been visiting a friend who lived in Savile's block of flats said she had seen him in a restaurant about two weeks ago, looking ill. "He really should not have been out," she said. "You could tell he was really ill yet he was still dressed in his string vest in a smart restaurant."

Former colleague Tony Blackburn told Sky News that Savile was a "big, over-the-top personality", who would be best remembered for his charity work. The keen runner, whom the Queen knighted in 1990, ran more than 200 marathons and raised millions of pounds for good causes.

Famous for his tracksuits, chunky gold jewellery, tinted glasses and cigars, Savile was born in Leeds in 1926, the youngest of seven children. He worked as a miner as a teenager and damaged his spine after an underground explosion brought down the coal face on his back. He was told he would never walk again.

He raised £20m for the creation of the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1983, and was a volunteer at hospital. A spokeswoman for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said Savile was "tireless in his attempts to fundraise for the hospital" and would be "sorely missed".

Savile, who was said to treasure a picture that the photographer Barry Wilkinson took of the DJ and the Beatles at the Gaumont Theatre in Bradford in 1963, enjoyed a varied career. It included a largely unsuccessful stint as a professional wrestler.

The DJ started his radio career at Radio Luxembourg before joining Radio 1. During his stint as host of the TV show Jim'll Fix It, which aired between 1975 and 1994, he made the dreams of more than 1,500 children come true. Among them was the violinist Nigel Kennedy who, aged 11, performed on TV.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin