Legendary DJ Steve Wright dies aged 69: Tributes flood in for broadcaster who enjoyed four-decade radio career

13 February 2024, 17:10 | Updated: 14 February 2024, 01:42

Radio legend and Iain Dale pay tribute following DJ Steve Wright's passing at 69

By Christian Oliver

Legendary Radio DJ Steve Wright has died at the age of 69, his family has announced.

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Wright presented programmes for BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for over four decades - and was last on air in a pre-recorded Valentine's special on Sunday.

The DJ's family said in a statement: "It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

"In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence and his father Richard. Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK's most enduring and popular radio personalities.

"As we all grieve, the family requests privacy at this immensely difficult time."

Radio DJ Steve Wright (centre) with Tony Blackburn (left) and Paul Gambachini
Radio DJ Steve Wright (centre) with Tony Blackburn (left) and Paul Gambachini. Picture: Alamy
Steve Wright with George Michael in August 1990
Steve Wright with George Michael in August 1990. Picture: Alamy

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Announcing the news on her Radio 2 show, Sara Cox said Wright was "an extraordinary broadcaster" and a "really kind person".

"He was witty, he was warm, and was a huge, huge part of the Radio 2 family - and I know my fellow DJs will all be shattered too."

Paying tribute to Wright, BBC Director General Tim Davie said the DJ was a "a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades".

"He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners."

Wright's audience "loved him deeply", Davie said. "We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly."

Wright was recently recognised in the New Year Honours list with an MBE for his services to radio.

Paul McCartney surprising Steve Wright (left) and his production assistant Dianne Oxberry in June 1990
Paul McCartney surprising Steve Wright (left) and his production assistant Dianne Oxberry in June 1990. Picture: Alamy

Born in Greenwich, south-east London in 1954, Wright worked his way up at the BBC starting as a clerk - only briefly leaving the corporation for Thames Valley Radio to start his own show in 1979.

Wright was soon back at the BBC, presenting a weekend show on Radio 1 and then in 1981 Steve Wright In The Afternoon - the show the DJ is perhaps best known for.

He briefly hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1994, before handing over to Chris Evans when he joined Talk Radio.

But Wright was back at the BBC in 1996 where he launched his Radio 2 afternoon show and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs - which has run since 1996.

In 2022, Scott Mills replaced Wright who continued to present his Sunday programme and special shows and podcasts on the station.

Head of BBC Radio 2 said Wright "understood the connection and companionship that radio engenders better than anyone, and we all loved him for it.

She hailed the broadcast legend as a "consummate professional" who "made his guests laugh" and was always "bringing brilliant stories to our listeners".

Lorna Clarke, Director of BBC Music said: "Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster – someone audiences loved, and many of us looked up to.

"He loved radio, and he loved the BBC, but most of all… he loved his audience.

"From Radio 1 to Radio 2, he was with us for more than four decades, and brought so much joy to our airwaves, whatever he was up to.

"We were privileged to have him with us for all these years."

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