Steve Wright dead: BBC radio stations DJ dies aged 69

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BBC radio presenter Steve Wright has died aged 69

BBC radio presenter, Steve Wright, has died aged 69. Wright presented Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades. He was last on air on Sunday (February 11).

His family confirmed his death in a statement. They said: "It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

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"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."

Born in Greenwich, London in 1954, Wright began his career at the BBC in a clerical role. His venture into broadcasting started in 1976 when he left the BBC to join Thames Valley Radio. Four years later, he became part of BBC Radio 1, initially hosting weekend programmes before introducing "Steve Wright in the Afternoon" in 1981, a programme that would ultimately become synonymous with his career.

BBC radio presenter Steve Wright has died aged 69BBC radio presenter Steve Wright has died aged 69
BBC radio presenter Steve Wright has died aged 69

Following a brief period hosting the Radio 1 breakfast show in 1994, Wright transitioned to Talk Radio before rejoining the BBC in 1996. His tenure at the BBC saw him presenting various programmes, including a Saturday show and "Sunday Love Songs" on Radio 2 from 1996, followed by the launch of his afternoon show in 1999, a position he held until 2022.

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In 2022, during a series of scheduling changes at the station, Scott Mills took over the afternoon slot, while Wright continued his tenure with Radio 2, hosting "Sunday Love Songs" along with a series of special programmes and podcasts.

Paying tribute to Wright, Tim Davie, BBC Director General 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."

'A complete shock'

Presenter Jeremy Vine told BBC News: "It's come as a complete shock to us. The Radio 2 family are in mourning. The thing about Steve is that he was 69 when he died, but he still sounded like he did when he was 30. He was such an incredible professional... a lovely man.

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"He was so encouraging to the next generation of presenters like me. He was so generous with his time. He was such a huge figure in British radio. That cheerful voice is gone, and there are so many people who will feel his loss."

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2 said: "Steve understood the connection and companionship that radio engenders better than anyone, 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, bringing brilliant stories to our listeners.

"Steve’s afternoon show was an institution that began on Radio 1 and later moved over to Radio 2 where it was broadcast for 23 years. He believed in the BBC passionately during his career that spanned for more than four decades, and he was always up for pursuing new ideas. He 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 was having fun experimenting with, alongside a host of specials and new BBC Sounds formats which he loved doing.

"Steve was the first presenter I ever produced more than 20 years ago, and I remember the pure amazement I felt, sitting opposite this legendary broadcaster whose shows I had listened to and marvelled at whilst growing up in Hull. For 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 wise words. We were lucky to have him with us for all these decades, and we will miss his talent and his friendship terribly.”

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Lorna Clarke, Director of BBC Music also paid tribute, describing Wright as an "extraordinary broadcaster". She 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 more than four decades, and brought so much joy to our airwaves, whatever he was up to. We were privileged to have him with us for all these years."

Radio 2 said it planned to celebrate Wright's life with a range of programming across the station.

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