Radio DJ Pete Mitchell dies aged 61

Veteran radio DJ Pete Mitchell has died aged 61.

The broadcaster, originally from Crumpsall in Manchester, collapsed while out walking near his home in Stockport on Thursday.

Mitchell championed acts from his native Manchester across a 34-year career.

The 1990s saw IQ, his specialist weekend programme on Key 103, become an important platform for up-and-coming acts such as Oasis, 808 State and Happy Mondays.

Pete Mitchell with long-standing partner Geoff Lloyd
Pete Mitchell with long-standing partner Geoff Lloyd (Yui Mok/PA)

A statement from family friend Jo Houlcroft confirmed his death.

It said: “It is with incredible sadness that I have to report the sad passing of Virgin Radio presenter Pete Mitchell, who died very suddenly on Thursday 12th March aged 61.

“Pete collapsed whilst out walking near his home in Stockport, the cause of his death is still unknown but he was not thought to be displaying any signs of illness.

“Pete was a veteran broadcaster, whose career in radio spanned 34 years.

“He was knowledgeable and passionate about music of all genres, discovering and supporting many bands and was a huge part of the Manchester music scene.

“His wife Helen and two grown-up sons Adam and Sean are devastated by their loss.

“His family have asked for privacy at this very difficult time.”

Mitchell held posts at stations including Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio, Radio X and Absolute Radio, and was one half of the duo Pete And Geoff, with Geoff Lloyd, on Virgin Radio.

The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess was among those paying tribute.

He said: “Oh man, so sad to hear that Pete Mitchell has died. He was a friend of ours for 30 years.

“One of the first DJs to play and champion The Charlatans.

“Always a pleasure to catch up with him, such fond memories of our times together. My thoughts are with Pete’s family and friends.”

Indie rock band Doves, from Cheshire, remembered Mitchell as a “big champion of Manchester music”.

They said: “We’re So sorry to hear today of the passing of Pete Mitchell, what a lovely guy & a big champion of Manchester music, supported Doves from the start and also right back to our sub sub days some 30 years ago, he was a great laugh and a great broadcaster.”

BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins said: “Pete Mitchell was not only a brilliant and passionate DJ but he was a really honest bloke and a lovely, supportive person.

“He will be missed by so many.”

Content director for Virgin Radio UK, Mike Cass, said: “It’s incredibly difficult to think about Pete in the past tense.

“He was a great radio talent, a skilled interviewer, a true part of the Virgin Radio spirit and a wonderful man.”

A spokeswoman for the station said it would be broadcasting a tribute at a later date.

A statement from BBC Radio 2 said: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of the much respected music radio presenter Pete Mitchell, who has worked on both BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music.

“Our thoughts today are with Pete’s friends and family.”