Veteran BBC broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan has died aged 77, after a short illness, his family has confirmed.
In a statement, they said: “Sir Terry Wogan died today after a short but brave battle with cancer.
“He passed away surrounded by his family. While we understand he will be missed by many, the family ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”
BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Terry truly was a national treasure.”
Sir Terry leaves wife Lady Helen and their three children. The couple also had a daughter who died in infancy.
‘Wonderful personality and charm’
Limerick-born Sir Terry had a 50-year career on television and radio, including presenting Wake up to Wogan on BBC Radio 2 and the Wogan chat show.
He was also the voice of Eurovision in the UK for many years and had been involved in the Children in Need appeal since it began.
BBC Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan said: “As the host of Wake up to Wogan, Terry established himself as one of the greatest and most popular radio hosts this country has ever heard.
“We were brightened by his wonderful personality and charm as he woke us up every weekday morning, becoming an essential and much-loved part of our lives.
“His millions of listeners adored him, as did his whole Radio 2 family. We will miss him enormously and our thoughts at this very sad time are with Helen and all the family.”
Sir Terry originally went into banking after college before switching careers to join Ireland’s national Radio Eireann as a newsreader and announcer.
He moved into light entertainment, as a DJ and host of TV quiz and variety shows in Ireland, before joining the BBC, where he would stay for the rest of his career.
He presented the breakfast show from 1972 to 1984, as The Terry Wogan Show, and then from 1993 to 2009 as Wake Up To Wogan.
He built up a firm fanbase, dubbing his audience the TOGs, or Terry’s Old Geezers and Gals.
When he broadcast at breakfast for the final time, he told listeners: “The years together with you have not only been a pleasure but a privilege. You have allowed me to share your lives with you.
“When you tell me how important I have been in your lives it’s very moving. You have been every bit as important in mine.”
Lord Hall said: “Terry truly was a national treasure. Today we’ve lost a wonderful friend.
“He was a lovely, lovely man and our thoughts are with his wife and family. 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.”
BBC Radio director Helen Boaden said: “Sir Terry was a radio legend. For decades, he gave great pleasure to radio listeners with his wit, warmth and inimitable humour.
“He was an extraordinary broadcaster but also incredibly good fun, and will be sorely missed.”
Colleagues of Sir Terry from BBC Radio 2 have paid tribute to him.
Jeremy Vine said: “He was probably the greatest broadcaster since the invention of the microphone.
“He lived for the red light and the sense that there was a listener at the end of the microphone. He only ever spoke to one person, because the greatest radio is intimate.”
Graham Norton, who took over as Eurovision commentator from Sir Terry, said on Twitter: “He made it seem effortless and for a young boy in Ireland he made it seem possible. RIP Sir Terry Wogan.”
Current breakfast show host Chris Evans wrote: “We are all so terribly sad upon hearing of the passing of Terry. I can’t put into words how the whole Radio 2 family is feeling.”
Tony Blackburn said: “I can hardly believe my old friend Sir Terry Wogan has died. RIP Terry and thanks for being a friend.”
Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with Terry Wogan’s family. Britain has lost a huge talent – someone millions came to feel was their own special friend.
“I grew up listening to him on the radio and watching him on TV. His charm and wit always made me smile.”
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said Sir Terry was “one of the great figures of broadcasting”.
He said: “His was a distinguished contribution to television and in particular to the medium of radio.
“People in Ireland will remember his early career in Irish broadcasting. On his move to Britain his voice became one of the most often quoted, favourite radio voices.
“Always proud of his origins in Limerick, he made many returns to his native country for television and radio projects. His rise to the top of radio listenership in the United Kingdom was a great tribute to his breadth of knowledge and in particular his unique, very personal sense of humour.”
Sir Terry made his BBC debut on the Light Programme, now Radio 2, and in 1969 was asked to stand in for Jimmy Young on the mid-morning show, which led to a regular afternoon slot.
He took over the breakfast show on Radio 2 in 1972 and was an immediate hit.
Sir Terry first covered Eurovision for television in 1973 and from 1980 to 2008, he provided the commentary every year for the BBC.
His chat show, Wogan, ran from 1982 to 1992, eventually being broadcast three times a week. During that time, he also hosted quiz show Blankety Blank.
Sir Terry anchored the Children in Need appeal from when it was first broadcast in 1980 and continued to host it after retiring from regular broadcasting.
Stevie Spring, chairman of Children in Need, said: “Most people know him as the face of Children in Need, but he’s the heart of the charity and has been for 35 years.”
In 1992 he returned to the Radio 2 breakfast show, after a break of nine years. He announced his retirement in September 2009, making his final regular appearance three months later.
From February 2010, he hosted a live show on Sunday mornings for the radio station.
Sir Terry was last on air on Radio 2 on 8 November 2015.
For continuing coverage, watch the BBC News Channel and listen to BBC Radio 2.
The One Show: A Tribute to Sir Terry will be broadcast at 19:00 GMT on Monday 1 February.
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