Terry Wogan: Tributes paid as BBC broadcasting legend dies of cancer aged 77

BBC director-general Tony Hall says Sir Terry was 'truly a national treasure', as David Cameron and the Irish president lead tributes

Adam Withnall
Sunday 31 January 2016 10:03 GMT
File: Terry Wogan has died, his family confirms
File: Terry Wogan has died, his family confirms

The veteran BBC broadcaster Terry Wogan died of cancer in the early hours of Sunday morning aged 77, his family has confirmed.

The news was fittingly announced on-air in a statement by Bob Shennan, the controller of Radio 2, the station where he worked on-and-off since 1972.

His fellow radio DJ and successor as the voice of Eurovision, Graham Norton, paid touching tribute on Twitter, saying Sir Terry made the job "seem effortless".

David Cameron was among the first to pay tribute to Sir Terry on Twitter. The Prime Minister said: "My thoughts are with Terry Wogan's family. Britain has lost a huge talent - someone millions came to feel was their own special friend.

And the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, said: "Wogan occupied a special place in British listeners' hearts and he acted in no small way as a bridge between Ireland and Britain."

Sir Terry's family said he had died on Sunday "after a short but brave battle with cancer".

"He passed away surrounded by his family," they said in a statement. "While we understand he will be missed by many, the family ask that their privacy is respected at this time."

Perhaps most famous for his breakfast radio show Wake Up Wogan, on TV he also presented the Wogan chatshow and became the sardonic voice of UK coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said Sir Terry was "truly a national treasure". "He was a lovely, lovely man and our thoughts are with his wife and family," he said.

"For 50 years Sir Terry graced our screens and airwaves. His warmth, wit and geniality meant that for millions he was a part of the family.

"Wake up to Wogan was for millions of Radio 2 listeners the very best way to start the day. For decades he's been such a huge part of the BBC on television and radio and leaves so many wonderful memories.

"At the centre of Children in Need since its beginning he raised hundreds of millions of pounds and changed so many lives for the better. He leaves a remarkable legacy."

Sir Terry was scheduled to host Children In Need in November but pulled out citing health reasons.

At the time it was reported he was having treatment for a back problem, meaning he failed to front the charity fundraiser for the first time since it began in 1980. He was quoted as saying he would miss the "wonderful, inspiring evening".

Born in Limerick, Ireland in 1938, Wogan began his broadcasting career on Irish network RTE before moving to the U.K. and the BBC, for whom he hosted a broad range of quiz programmess, game shows and chat shows.

Sir Terry, who had joint Irish and British citizenship, was knighted by the Queen in 2005. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

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