TV presenter host Simon Dee, who was one of the biggest small screen stars of the 1960s, has died of bone cancer aged 74.

Dee – whose real name was Nicholas Henty-Dodd – was best known for presenting the Dee Time show on BBC TV towards the end of the decade, and was thought to be synonymous with the spirit of the ‘swinging sixties’.

However his popularity had waned by the 70s, and he disappeared from the airwaves.

His daughter Domino Henty-Dodd told the BBC News website he was only diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and could not be treated.

“It happened very, very quickly,” she said. “He was dearly loved by his family.”

“He was huge in his day,” she added. “Before celebrity became such an everyday thing, he was a celebrity in the real sense.

“He was one of the first to become famous so quickly.”

Dee began his career on the pirate station Radio Caroline in 1964, before moving to Radio 1, where he was among the first line-up of DJs when the station launched in 1967.

His TV show Dee Time regularly attracted audiences of 15m until it ended in 1969.

He also presented early episodes of Top Of The Pops and had cameo roles in the films The Italian Job and Doctor in Trouble.

DJ Tony Blackburn, who worked on Radio 1 with Dee, paid tribute to him, saying he was a “nice guy” who could not handle his fame and success.

“I was very sad about the news,” Blackburn said. “He was an interesting character because his career rocketed to terrific stardom, but he was one of those people that couldn’t handle the fame.

“He was really Mr Saturday Night television, he represented so much the Sixties… he did have an enormous audience, you’re talking in the 19m, 20m audiences. Nobody else could go close to that,” he added.

Dee, who was married three times, is survived by four children and four grandchildren.