Steve Wright's famously private life away from 'legendary' BBC radio career

Steve Wright (Photo by Jane Mingay - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Steve Wright (Photo by Jane Mingay - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) (Jane Mingay - PA Images,Getty)

The radio industry is mourning a legend after the BBC announced that long-serving radio DJ Steve Wright has passed away aged 69.

Steve, who enjoyed huge success at the corporation and hosted his own radio for more than 30 years, was clearly an adored figure and tributes have been flooding in since the news of his death was announced on 13 February.

A statement from the family read: "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.

Steve Wright arrives at the Sony Radio Academy Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel on May 9, 2005 in London, England. The prestigious awards recognise national and regional radio stations, broadcasters in both the public and commercial sectors, and radio stations' digital and internet services. Categories include DJ of the Year, UK Station of the Year, Daily Music Show of the Year and Breakfast Show of the Year.
Steve Wright arrives at the Sony Radio Academy Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel on May 9, 2005 in London, England (Gareth Cattermole)

"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." A cause of death has not yet been reported.

To honour the late DJ, here's more information about Steve Wright including his loved ones who he leaves behind, and his legendary career on the airwaves.


Inside the radio DJ's famously private life including ex-wife and children

Despite being on the airwaves most afternoons for more than three decades, Steve generally preferred to keep his family life away from the spotlight.

While working at a local radio station in Reading in the 1970s, Steve met Cynthia Robinson, an American journalist.

The couple wed soon after and were married for more than two decades, however, the romance wasn't to last and their divorce was finalised in 1999.

BBC Radio DJ Steve Wright with his son on July 01, 1988
BBC Radio DJ Steve Wright with his son in 1988 (Larry Ellis)

During their union, Steve and Cynthia welcomed two children. Their firstborn was their son, Tom, and a few years later they had their daughter, Lucy.

Little else is known about their family, but Steve did open up during an interview with The Mirror about the moment he realised Cynthia was the one. "We were watching the Mike Leigh play Abigail's Party on television when I looked at her and just thought: 'I love this woman'."

In another interview, Steve spoke about the prospect of finding love again and he and his wife parted ways. The DJ admitted that his commitment to his work made it difficult to pursue romantic relationships.

"I work on an afternoon show on the BBC and I do a love songs show at the weekend and it means that I do a lot of interviews and I prep a lot and I write a lot. So I have to work all the time."

Steve Wright in the BBC Radio 1 studio
Steve Wright in the BBC Radio 1 studio (Carol Norman/Shutterstock)

Who was Steve Wright?

Steve had an incredibly successful career as a long-serving radio DJ at the BBC.

He joined the broadcasting corporation in 1980 where he began hosting his own show on BBC Radio 1. Steve began hosting a Saturday evening show before eventually moving to a morning slot.

But it was when he switched over to a daytime show and began hosting Steve Wright in the Afternoons a year into his time at the BBC that he became a household name.

Steve Wright was a huge figure in radio. Pictured with George Michael in 1990
Steve Wright was a huge figure in radio. Pictured with George Michael in 1990 (PA Images)

Steve's personality, eclectic music tastes and passion for the job were evident and he instantly became a fan favourite. In 1991, Steve did present the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, a hugely popular format with millions of listeners, but ended up leaving the corporation altogether shortly after.

After a brief stint at Talk Radio, Steve returned to Broadcasting House where he began hosting regular shows again.

Steve Wright in the Afternoon, his daily show, was revived in 1999 and the DJ continued his iconic show until 2022, when he was replaced by Scott Mills, former Radio 1 DJ.

However, he continued presenting his Sunday Love Songs right up until his death. His final show was a pre-recorded Valentine's special.

Away from the radio, Steve also dabbled in presenting and fronted some Top of the Pops 2 shows, but it's clear his one true love was radio.

Tributes for the late, great Steve Wright

Plenty of Steve's peers and close friends have paid tribute to him following his tragic passing.

Speaking on the air, Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox said they were all "shocked and devastated by the news."

Steve's successor, Scott Mills, posted a statement on X. He wrote in part: "He made everything sound effortless, and worked so hard to make every show world-class. He was a constant inspiration to me on how to do radio that sounded big.

View this tweet on Twitter

"When I first started doing shows at Radio 2, he and I spent hours reminiscing about his days at Radio 1, and I would listen to his stories and wisdom in awe. My thoughts are with his family and my colleagues who have worked with him for so many years."

Zoe Ball said: "Wrighty. Our Radio friend, our inspiration, master of broadcasting, the Godfather, a dear friend, always there for us all with support, advice & love & most importantly laughter.

"Rest well you wonderful magic man. Life won't be the same without you here. Love you my friend my hero x."