Veteran sports broadcaster David Coleman has died aged 87, it has been announced.

Coleman, who fronted a string of sports programmes for the BBC for almost 50 years, passed away on Saturday morning following a short illness.

His family confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “We regret to announce the death of David Coleman OBE, after a short illness he died peacefully with his family at his bedside.”

During his time at the BBC the presenter covered 11 summer Olympic Games – the last one being Sydney in 2000 – as well as six World Cups.

He also fronted the likes of Grandstand, Sportsnight and the BBC quiz show A Question Of Sport – the latter from 1979-1997.

Coleman was also notable for spawning the ‘Colemanballs’ phrase – given to gaffes made by sporting commentators – inspired by his own name and errors during his long career.

He retired from the BBC in 2000.

The presenter is survived by his wife, Barbara, and six children.

Director general Tony Hall was among those paying tribute to him, saying: “David Coleman was one of this country’s greatest and most respected broadcasters.

“Generations grew up listening to his distinctive and knowledgeable commentary. Whether presenting, commentating or offering analysis, he set the standard for all today’s sports broadcasters.

“Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”