Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young dies at 95

Updated: 

Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young has died at the age of 95.

The long-serving DJ, who spent almost three decades at BBC Radio 2, died "peacefully at home" with his wife Alicia by his side on Monday afternoon, a family spokesman said.

Sir Jimmy was one of the original Radio 1 DJs at the station's inception in 1967.

He moved to Radio 2 in 1973 and filled the early afternoon slot until he retired in December 2002, reportedly counting the Queen among his legions of fans.

BBC director-general Lord Hall said: "Sir Jimmy Young defined Radio 2 and was a true broadcasting pioneer. He will be dearly missed by his many fans."

DJ Tony Blackburn, who worked alongside Sir Jimmy at Radio 1, described him as a "legendary broadcaster", adding: "I was proud to know Jimmy and call him a friend. I interviewed him just a couple of years ago and, although he was in his early 90s then, his mind was as sharp as ever.

"2016 has been a terrible year for losing iconic figures from our youth. Today we lost another."

Sir Jimmy, who had a successful music career before becoming established as a broadcaster, interviewed each prime minister of the day during his time at the station, as well as many other leading world figures. Baroness Thatcher was a guest of the "housewives' choice" 14 times.

The family spokesman said: "Legendary broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young died peacefully at home this afternoon. Jim's wife Alicia was with him."

The Gloucestershire-born miner's son, who served in the RAF during the Second World War, was off air for several months after surgery before his Radio 2 tenure ended but returned for his final fortnight.

The show is now presented by Jeremy Vine, who said he was "sad" to learn his predecessor had died.

Sir Jimmy's former Radio 2 colleague Ken Bruce said: "So very sad to hear about the death of my old friend Sir Jimmy Young. One of the most able broadcasters I ever worked with."

LBC radio presenter Iain Dale added: "Much respect to Sir Jimmy Young who died today, aged 95. The word 'legend' is overused, but not in his case. A true icon of radio."

Time Team presenter and Blackadder actor Tony Robinson said: "So sad. Such memories from my childhood and teens. I loved his versions of The Man From Laramie and Unchained Melody."

Television presenter Piers Morgan said: "Another giant of British broadcasting dies just months after his great friend & colleague Terry Wogan."

Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio, said: "He (Jimmy) was a truly unique broadcaster who pioneered a form of presenting that generations have followed.

"He made current affairs relevant to millions of listeners and helped shape Radio 2 into the station it is today."

Sir Cliff Richard said: "My first memory of Jimmy Young was as a singer. As a teenager I bought his records Unchained Melody and The Man From Laramie.

"The fact that he could switch from pop star of his time to a top radio presenter speaks highly of his ability to succeed regardless of what he chose to do.

"He was a great ambassador for our musical profession. We will miss him."

A special hour-long tribute programme, hosted by Mr Bruce, will be broadcast on Radio 2 on Wednesday night, the BBC said. It will be an updated version of a programme first aired in 2001 for Sir Jimmy's 90th birthday.

Mr Vine's Tuesday programme will also feature memories of the late presenter, the corporation added.