BBC Radio 2 DJ Brian Matthew dies after more than 60 years on air

Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew: PA
Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew: PA

The veteran BBC radio presenter Brian Matthew has died at the age of 88, his family said.

The DJ, who was best known for his show Sounds of the 60s, had been seriously ill. He died on Saturday morning, having stopped radio work earlier this year.

Before he finished working, he was the BBC's oldest regular DJ, having worked at the organisation since 1954.

Matthew made his name as one of the station's very first DJs more than half a century ago, hosting shows such as After Seven and the Pulitzer award-winning Round Midnight. He had presented Sounds Of The 60s' from April 1990 to November 2016.

BBC Radio 2 tweeted: "Farewell to your old mate and ours, Brian Matthew."

Head of Radio 2 Lewis Carnie said: "He was a much loved and valued presenter on Radio 2 – by both the audience and his colleagues.

"He presented Sounds of the 60s for 27 years and we had hoped to be able to carry on working with him in a new series where he could share his memories from his distinguished career with us. Sadly it was not to be."

Matthew’s death was mistakenly reported by the BBC earlier this week. He was “critically ill” at the time.

Matthew called Radio 2's decision to replace him "balderdash" in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in January. His farewell show closed with Billy Fury's "Last Night Was Made For Love" and also featured Elvis Presley's "Ghetto" and The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home".

As the last track played out, Matthew said: "That 1962 top-five hit by Billy Fury brings me to the end of my reign as presenter of Sounds Of The 60s and I must say I've enjoyed every minute of my 27 years in this chair. I'm saddened to leave but I'll be back on Radio 2 in the near future with something new, so keep your eyes open for further information."

He added: "This is your old mate Brian Matthew saying that's your lot for this week, see you again soon."