BBC star Steve Wright dies aged 69: Tributes flood in to legendary broadcaster who enjoyed 40-year career hosting shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 and presented Top Of The Pops
BBC DJ Steve Wright has died aged 69 – with his family speaking of their ‘deep sadness and deep regret’.
The legendary broadcaster presented Steve Wright in the Afternoon for 12 years on Radio 1 and a further 23 years on Radio 2. Today’s shock announcement left colleagues ‘heartbroken’ and prompted an outpouring of emotional tributes.
The DJ also hosted the popular Sunday Love Songs weekend mid-morning show on Radio 2. His last show was a pre-recorded Valentine’s Day edition of the show two days ago.
Wright told listeners in his final sign-off: ‘I’ll be back next Sunday for more love songs, ta-da then.’
The star’s family said in a statement today: ‘It is with deep sadness and deep regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.
‘In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve is survived by his brother, Laurence and his father, Richard. Also many beloved close friends and colleagues, and millions of dedicated radio listeners who have 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.
‘While we are all grieving, the family asks for privacy at this extremely difficult time.’
Steve Wright, who has died aged 69, is pictured in his recording studio in 1994.
Wright seen in a recent photo of him walking in central London
The DJ was married to Cyndi Robinson until they divorced in 1999. They are pictured on their wedding day
Wright’s show on Radio 2 last Sunday was pre-recorded, and it is understood there is another program ‘in the can’, although it is thought it will not be broadcast after his death.
Meanwhile, one BBC star told how the death was seen by his colleagues as ‘very, very sudden’ as he had been in contact with bosses at the station in the last few days.
They told the Mail: ‘Steve had only been talking to Radio 2 bosses for two or three days and they had no idea he was going to die, we were aware he was struggling a bit with his health but nothing like that. doesn’t look serious.
‘It came as a great shock. Nobody can believe it. He was involved with his colleagues so recently. It doesn’t look real at all.’
Tributes poured in today from colleagues.
Presenter Sara Cox said: ‘It’s really hard to know what to say about the news of Steve Wright’s passing, other than we’re all shocked and devastated and blindsided by this news.
“Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster, a very kind person, he was witty, he was warm, and he was a big, big part of the Radio 2 family, and I know my fellow DJs will absolutely crush them all too be.”
Zoe Ball told Wright to ‘rest well you wonderful magician’ after his death aged 69.
In a post to X, the broadcaster wrote: ‘Wrighty. Our radio friend, our inspiration, master of broadcasting, the Godfather, always there for us all with support, advice, love & most importantly laughter rest well you wonderful magic man.
“Life won’t be the same without you here love you my friend my hero.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, who has interviewed Wright on many occasions, said he was a unique broadcaster.
“He created a kind of club that you looked forward to joining every day, whether he was interviewing you or whether you were enjoying it as a listener,” she said.
‘It’s a very rare quality, and he made it sound easy. It was often very funny, and when he left his daily afternoon show, he really put a dent in the day for many of us who relied on his company. He will be a real loss.’
The legendary broadcaster presented Steve Wright in the Afternoon for 12 years on Radio 1 and a further 23 years on Radio 2. He is pictured in 1980
The DJ, seen in 2003, was made an MBE for services to radio
Wright with Bunny Campione at an event at Hamley’s Toy Store in London on October 24, 2004
Wright in a photo taken in 1995
The DJ with Alice Cooper at the Sony Radio Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel on 12 May 2004
Wright was honored today by former colleagues and interviewees
Matt Lucas referred to Steve Wright as ‘the most brilliant radio announcer of all’ following the latter’s death aged 69.
In a post to X, the comedian wrote: ‘Steve Wright was the most brilliant radio announcer of all.
‘So gifted and natural and engaging. It was always a pleasure and an honor to appear on his show. What a great loss.’
Jo Whiley thanked Wright, ‘the broadcaster’s broadcaster’, for all his support over the years.
In a post to X, the radio DJ and television presenter wrote: ‘What a man. What a legend. The broadcaster’s broadcaster.
‘One of the kindest, sweetest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Thanks for the support and music chat over the years.
‘Can’t believe we won’t be meeting in the bowels of MV for our weekly catch up. Love you Wrighty.’
Wright was born in Greenwich, South London, in 1954 and began his BBC career as a clerk.
He briefly left the broadcaster for Thames Valley Radio in 1976, but returned four years later to host weekend programmes.
Wright is surprised in his studio by Paul McCartney. Also in the photo is his production assistant Dianne Oxberry
The DJ with George Michael in an undated photo taken inside a BBC studio
Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, said today: ‘All of us at the BBC are saddened to hear this terribly sad news. Steve was truly a wonderful broadcaster who was a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades.
‘He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the art of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners. It was deservedly recognized in the New Year Honors list with its MBE for services to radio.
‘No one had more energy to deliver performances that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They loved him dearly. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly.’
Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, said today: ‘Steve understood better than anyone the connection and camaraderie that radio engenders, and we all loved him for it.
‘He was a consummate professional whose attention to detail was always second to none and he made his guests laugh, he was fair and he wanted to showcase them and their work in the best possible light and brilliant stories to our listeners bring.
‘Steve’s afternoon show was an institution that started on Radio 1 and later moved to Radio 2 where it was broadcast for 23 years. He believed passionately in the BBC throughout his career spanning more than four decades, and was always keen to pursue new ideas.
‘He’s brought joy to millions of listeners with his Sunday Love Songs as well as the legendary Pick of the Pops, which he took on last year and has had fun experimenting with, along with a host of specials and new BBC Sounds formats. which he liked to do.
‘Steve was the first presenter I ever produced over twenty years ago and I remember the sheer amazement I felt sitting across from this legendary broadcaster whose shows I listened to and marveled at when I grew up in Hull.
‘To all of us at Radio 2 he was a wonderful colleague and a friend with his excellent sense of humour, generosity with his time and endless words of wisdom. We were lucky to have him with us all these decades, and we will miss his talent and his friendship terribly.’
Lorna Clarke, director of BBC Music, said: ‘Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster – someone audiences loved, and many of us looked up to. He loved radio, and he loved the BBC, but most of all…he loved his audience.
‘From Radio 1 to Radio 2, he was with us for over four decades, bringing so much joy to our airwaves, whatever he was up to.
“We were privileged to have him with us all these years.”