Sir Michael Parkinson told his best friend Dickie Bird he was "getting towards the end", just hours before he passed away aged 88.
Retired cricket umpire Dickie spoke to the legendary TV broadcaster on Wednesday (16.08.23), and Michael died "peacefully" following a "brief illness" later that evening.
Dickie had been friends with Michael for a staggering 84 years, and the star admitted he "could tell" his good pal was "ill" when they said their goodbyes to one another.
Speaking on talkSPORT on Thursday (17.08.23), Dickie said: "We knew each other for 80 years.
"I think we worked it out, me and Parky, and it was 84 years that we were friends and when I turned 90 he came all the way just to see me on my 90th birthday and he wasn’t well, but he came and that’s a true friend.
"He was a very close friend. Our friendship, I can’t even tell you.
"I only spoke to him yesterday morning and he said ‘Mate, I think I’m getting towards the end,’ and I said ‘Keep your chin up, keep going,’ but I could tell that he was ill and we said our goodbyes yesterday morning."
Dickie feels "so down" following Michael's passing, and described him as a "true legend".
He added: "It’s stunned me. I’m so down, I’m gutted because we’ve known each other for so long and you talk about Muhammad Ali and Garfield Sobers, but Michael Parkinson was a true legend."
Dickie also admitted he could tell Michael wasn't well on Wednesday because of his "weak voice".
He told Sky News: "I know he hasn't been well, he hasn't been well at all, and his voice yesterday - it didn't sound as if it was strong. It was a weak voice.
"I knew then there was something wrong with him."
Michael's family confirmed on Thursday that he had passed away the previous evening.
They said in a statement: "After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family.
"The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve."