BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright died from ruptured ulcer in stomach as cause of death revealed, what is peritonitis

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BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright died from a ruptured ulcer in his stomach, it has been revealed.

According to his death certificate released by the BBC, the causes of death were acute peritonitis and a perforated gastric peptic ulcer.

The veteran radio broadcaster died suddenly at his home in London on February 12, just two days after last being on air. Wright presented on Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades, and had become synonymous with BBC radio.

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Confirming his death in a statement, his family said: “It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright died from a ruptured ulcer in his stomach, it has been revealed.BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright died from a ruptured ulcer in his stomach, it has been revealed.
BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright died from a ruptured ulcer in his stomach, it has been revealed. | BBC

“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.”

Previously, Metropolitan Police confirmed that while his death was unexpected, there were no suspicious circumstances. Westminster Register Office also confirmed that there would be no inquest into Wright's death. Such investigations typically occur around sudden, violent or unnatural deaths, with exceptions for cases involving neglect or if the person was in police custody or prison at the time of death.

Wright first joined BBC Radio 1 in 1980 to host a Saturday evening show and held various positions including an afternoon show and a breakfast show at the station. He had a stint at commercial radio before returning to BBC Radio 2 in 1996 to host Steve Wright’s Saturday Show and Sunday Love Songs and three years later had Steve Wright In The Afternoon every weekday on Radio 2.

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Wright stepped down in September 2022, replaced by Scott Mills in a schedule shake-up, but Wright continued to present Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio 2. Michael Ball has since been announced as the host of a Sunday love songs show, which has been re-titled Love Songs With Michael Ball. Wright was made an MBE in the 2024 New Year Honours for services to radio.

What is peritonitis?

According to NHS Consultant Oncologist at Addenbrooke's and Bedford Hospitals Prof Dr Robert Thomas, a perforated gastric peptic ulcer is a severe complication of a stomach ulcer disease where it creates a hole in the wall of the stomach or intestine. This allows the contents of the stomach or intestine to leak into the abdominal cavity, leading to peritonitis. 

A perforated gastric peptic ulcer often leads to peritonitis because the contents of the stomach or intestine, which contain digestive enzymes and bacteria, spill into the sterile peritoneal cavity. This causes infection and inflammation, requiring immediate medical intervention to prevent serious complications or death.

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He said poor diet and lifestyle factors have a major role in gastric ulcer formation as do other issues such as long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and severe stress.

Its treatments include, emergency surgery to close the perforation, antibiotics to prevent or treat peritonitis, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to reduce stomach acid, discontinuation of NSAIDs or other ulcerogenic medications and anagement of H. pylori infection if present.

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