Former BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull has died at the age of 66, his family has said.
A statement from his family said: “Following a challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 31st August.
“Bill was diagnosed in 2017 and has had outstanding medical care from the Royal Marsden and Ipswich Hospitals, St Elizabeth Hospice and his GP.
“He was resolutely positive and was hugely buoyed by the support he received from friends, colleagues, and messages from people wishing him luck. It was a great comfort to Bill that so many more men are now testing earlier for this disease.
“Bill will be remembered by many as a remarkable broadcaster who brought warmth and humour into people’s homes on BBC Breakfast and Classic FM.
“He was also a devoted Wycombe Wanderers fan and an ever-aspiring beekeeper. Bill was a wonderful husband and father to his three children; his family and friends will miss how he always made them laugh, and the generosity and love he shared with those around him.”
“Bill was a wonderful husband and father to his three children; his family and friends will miss how he always made them laugh, and the generosity and love he shared with those around him.”
Turnbull, who appeared on BBC Breakfast from 2001 until 2016, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017.
‘The most generous man in the business’
Tributes have poured in for the broadcaster, who was a favourite with many viewers on BBC Breakfast thanks to his presenting style.
Turnbull’s former colleague and co-presenter, Susanna Reid, described him as “the kindest, funniest, most generous man in the business”.She tweeted: “I feel lucky to have worked with him and he taught me everything.“But above all, he was devoted to his family and I am heartbroken for them. RIP Bill. We will miss you so much.”
Former BBC presenter Dan Walker remembered Turnbull, saying it was an “honour to sit on his sofa”.He tweeted: “Bill Turnbull was so kind and generous when I took over from him on BBC Breakfast. He was full of brilliant advice and it was clear just how loved he was by his colleagues and the audience. It was an honour to sit on his sofa.
BBC broadcaster John Simpson described Turnbull as “charming” as well as being a “sharp reporter”, while former BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern said he was “a fantastic broadcaster and a brilliant friend”.
BBC Radio 4 Today presenters Nick Robinson and Mishal Husain also paid tribute to the former BBC Breakfast presenter.Speaking on the programme on Thursday morning, Robinson said: “We’ve lost a very dear friend and an extraordinary broadcaster.“There was a warmth to his broadcasting. People who watched breakfast television every day just knew how warm Bill was and perhaps what they forgot was what a bloody good journalist he was.“This was a man who’d been a correspondent in Washington, who travelled 30 countries. He’d been in Moscow, he’d covered wars, he’d reported on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.“And that combination of a razor-sharp intellect, wit, humour and humanity came out every day when he was on Breakfast. It came out when as a reporter, and listeners of Classic FM will have heard him present beautifully as well, his love of music.”
Adding to the tributes, BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell said the team are “numb” and “devastated” by the passing of a “dear friend and former colleague”.
BBC breakfast hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty, both visibly tearful, remembered their predecessor on the BBC One morning show as “our friend and former colleague” and an “amazing” journalist with a “wise head”.Addressing viewers at the end of Thursday’s show, Stayt said: “He was a wise head, he didn’t take himself too seriously when he sat here, which is a great combination.”Munchetty added: “Of course all of us here are sending love and support to Bill’s family, to Sessie his wife, and I think today after we get over the shock of this, we will start remembering the really funny things that Bill did.
Prostate Cancer UK tweeted: “Our friend and ambassador Bill Turnbull has died.“Bill worked tirelessly to raise awareness of prostate cancer following his diagnosis in 2017, and it was our privilege to work alongside him.”
Turnbull revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis in March 2018, saying he was diagnosed the previous November, and he detailed his treatment in a Channel 4 documentary called Staying Alive.
In October last year he announced he was taking a leave of absence from his show on Classic FM for health reasons.
Announcing the news on social media, Turnbull said he was taking “a leave of absence” from his weekend programme, which he had fronted for five years.
He started his broadcast career at Scotland’s Radio Clyde in 1978, joining the BBC as a reporter for the Today programme in 1986 before becoming a reporter for BBC’s Breakfast Time two years later.