Former presenter and DJ Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart has died aged 74, a few days after having a stroke, the BBC announced.
Rocky Taylor, a friend of 40 years, said the former BBC Radio 1 DJ and Crackerjack presenter died in hospital in Bournemouth.
Mr Taylor said he had been informed of his death by the star’s ex-wife, Chiara Mainwaring.
DJ and presenter Ed Stewart (William Conran/PA)
Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Music, said in a statement: “Everyone at Radio 2 is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart.
“Ed has been a stalwart of popular music broadcasting for many years and over the past few Christmases, he brought back Junior Choice to the delight of millions of loyal listeners.
“We are thinking of Ed’s friends and family at this difficult time.”
DJ Ed Stewart with fellow broadcaster Henry Kelly (William Conran/PA)
Former brother-in-law Adriano Henney posted the news on Twitter, calling it a “huge loss”.
— Adriano Henney (@adrianohenney) January 9, 2016
Ed was one of the first presenters on Radio 1 when it was launched in 1967.
The following year, he began presenting children’s show Junior Choice, which became his trademark radio show.
On television, Devon-born Ed was best known for children’s favourite Crackerjack, which he hosted from 1973 to 1979.
Presenter David Hamilton paid tribute on BBC News, hailing his BBC colleague for his versatility.
“Like all of us, radio was his first love. But also, he did very well on television. He was one of the hosts of Crackerjack for a long time, he did Top Of The Pops and he had his own programme.”
The DJ, also known by the nickname ‘Diddy’, said he spoke to his old friend just a few days ago.
“He was one of my best friends from those days. He was always good company, always a good laugh,” recalled Hamilton, who had joined BBC Radio 1 in 1973.
David Hamilton has paid tribute to Ed Stewart (Ian West/PA)
During a speech at his friend’s 70th birthday party, he joked that he had never seen Ed’s wallet during their 50-year friendship, adding: “He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and it was on a chain.”
David ended: “He was a really good guy and I really will miss him.”
On Twitter, tributes came from Coronation Street star Les Dennis and celebrity astrologer Russell Grant, among others.
Ed is survived by his two children and grandchildren.