Steve Wright, who spent over 40 years as one of the most popular presenters on BBC Radio, has died at the age of 69.

The news was confirmed in a statement by his family, who wrote: “It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

“In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence and his father Richard. Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities.

“As we all grieve, the family requests privacy at this immensely difficult time.”

Wright began on BBC Radio 1 in 1980, settling into his Steve Wright in the Afternoon show the following year. He remained at the station until 1995, briefly hosting the Breakfast Show, and later became an institution at BBC Radio 2, presenting in his trademark time slot from 1999 to 2022.

Portrait of BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Steve Wright, photographed for Radio Times in connection with his self titled BBC Radio show, June 1982. (Photo by Chris Ridley/Radio Times/Getty Images)

He also hosted the show Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2 up until his death, and recently replaced the veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini on the station’s Pick of the Pops in late 2022.

Tim Davie, the BBC Director General, has said: “All of us at the BBC are heartbroken to hear this terribly sad news. Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades. He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners.

“This was deservedly recognised in the New Year Honours list with his MBE for services to radio. No-one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They loved him deeply. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly.”

Figures from across the entertainment industry have been paying their tributes to the broadcaster, with his Radio 2 colleague Jo Whiley writing: “The broadcaster’s broadcaster. One of the kindest, loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Thanks for the support & music chat over the years. Can’t believe we won’t meet in the bowels of MV for our weekly catch up. Love ya Wrighty.”

Ken Bruce, another veteran of the Radio 2 airwaves, said: “Totally shocked to hear the news about the great Steve Wright. We were planning lunch to celebrate the award of his richly deserved MBE. An outstanding and innovative broadcaster whose listeners loved him. What a loss to the world of radio.”

See a range of further tributes below:

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