BBC retracts announcement that DJ Brian Matthew has died at 88

Former Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew
Former Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew
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BRIAN MATTHEW, the disc jockey who hosted Radio 2’s long-running Sounds Of The 60s programme, was today critically ill in hospital, the BBC said.

The corporation, which released a statement on behalf of the family on Wednesday announcing that the broadcaster had died, issued a second statement clarifying Matthew’s status.

They said: “We were informed by close family and friends that Brian had passed away in the night. They have since been in contact to say that he remains critically ill.”

The broadcaster, who was once dubbed Britain’s oldest DJ, stepped down from the popular programme after 27 years in February because of ill health.

The BBC said they will “update with more information” when they have it, adding: “Our thoughts remain with his family at this very difficult time.”

The broadcaster’s correction came after director-general Tony Hall had led tributes to the veteran DJ, with stars from across the world of entertainment and music also expressing sadness over the news.

Earlier on Wednesday the BBC had issued a statement on behalf of Matthew’s family saying: “Our beloved Brian Matthew passed away last night. We ask that our privacy is respected at this 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.

He said he was “saddened to leave”.