The broadcasting world was in mourning yesterday as news broke that BBC Radio DJ Janice Long had died, aged 66.
The BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and Top of the Pops presenter is believed to have died after contracting pneumonia, which ultimately led to multiple organ failure.
The much-loved presenter had a glittering career spanning spanning five decades and was the first woman to have her own daily show on BBC Radio.
The Liverpool-born presenter was best known for her roles across BBC Radio although initially trained as a flight attendant.
Janice also appeared on Countdown, the X Factor and The Weakest Link – as well as providing the voiceover for BBC Three’s Desperate Midwives.
Broadcasting ran in the star’s family as Janice’s brother was late television presenter and actor Keith Chegwin, who passed away in December 2017.
Keith died aged 60 following a ”long-term battle with a progressive lung condition”, according to his family.
In a statement, they said: “We are heartbroken to share the news that Keith Chegwin sadly passed away following a long-term battle with a progressive lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which rapidly worsened towards the end of this year.”
Janice was hospitalised after a brief battle with pneumonia, which she revealed to her followers on social media, writing: “Good Morning world from my hospital bed in Liverpool.”
Her death was said to have been sudden and came as a particular shock after her condition appeared to be improving.
Janice leaves behind two children Fred, 33, and Blue, 25 with her husband Paul Berry, who she married in 2017.
Speaking after the devastating news of his wife’s death Paul said: “I’ve lost the love of my life and I’m going to spend the rest of it half a person.
“She had my back from the day we met, you couldn’t possibly ask for more love and loyalty from a wife.”
Janice’s daughter Blue said “Mum I love you. You paved the way for me to have an incredible life. You were a trailblazer for so many women to go conquer and succeed.
“The first woman to host Top of the Pops and the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1.
“You have shown me that anything is possible and to never stop fighting for what you want and deserve.”
Her son Fred said “She wasn’t only a mum to me but a whole bunch of my friends that she took in and cared for and I’ll never forget everything she has done for me.
“She inspired me to be what I want and told me never to settle for anything less.”
Social media was awash with tributes for the star as they mourned the loss of the gifted broadcaster.
Janice’s agent Nigel described her as a “wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster”.
He said: “She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit.
“She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.
A spokesperson for Greatest Hits Radio, where Janice worked, said: “We’re incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long.
“Throughout her illustrious career, Janice played a significant role and contribution to broadcasting, most recently as an integral part of the Greatest Hits Radio line-up.
“She was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed by all of us and her treasured listeners. Our deepest condolences are with her family and loved ones at this time.”
BBC director general Tim Davie described Janice as a “stellar presenter” who was loved across the industry.
Meanwhile BBC radio DJs Greg James described Janice as a “truly brilliant radio person”.
He said “She was so kind and sweet to me when I was on earlies on R1 and she was on R2 nights at the same time.
“She picked the greats and got them in session before other DJs had even heard of them. She was such a laugh as well.”