Ex-Top of the Pops presenter dies aged 66 after ‘short illness’

FORMER Top of the Pops host and BBC radio presenter Janice Long has died at the age of 66.

Long died at home on Christmas Day following a “short illness” with her family, her agent confirmed.

Nigel Forsyth said in a statement: "Janice was a wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster.

"She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.

"Janice loved the BBC and started her career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, to complete it with the magnificent people at BBC Radio Wales.

"Janice wanted it known she was so thankful to the NHS and all who looked after her there."

Long's career spanned five decades where she became the first woman to have her own daily show on BBC Radio 1, and the first woman to regularly host Top of the Pops.

She was also hosted the breakfast show on Greater London Radio and XFM as well as being one of the main presenters of the Live Aid charity concert in 1985.

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Born in Liverpool, her brother was fellow presenter Keith Chegwin, who died in 2017.

Lorna Clarke, controller of pop music at the BBC, was among those paying tribute.

She said: "Everyone in pop radio was saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long.

"She was long admired for her role as a talent spotter and new music champion, giving Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Amy Winehouse their first radio sessions, as well as lighting the way for female radio and TV presenters throughout the industry.

"We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this sad time."

Musician Midge Ure has also paid tribute to Long's death.

He said on Twitter: "Dreadful news. Janice stood with us on the pitch at Wembley stadium as we announced Live Aid. A broadcast legend and absolute music lover."

BBC Radio 1 breakfast show host Greg James described Janice Long as a "truly brilliant radio person".

He said on Twitter: "This is so sad. A truly brilliant radio person.

"She was so kind and sweet to me when I was on earlies on R1 and she was on R2 nights at the same time. She picked the greats and got them in session before other DJs had even heard of them. She was such a laugh as well."

Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order also paid tribute to Janice Long.

He said: "Such sad news about Janice Long. She was always a great friend and a great supporter of our music. She was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around. RIP."

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