TV presenter Bill Turnbull dies aged 66

Virgin Radio

1 Sep 2022, 08:23

Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast

Credit: BBC

Bill Turnbull, who presented BBC Breakfast for 15 years, has passed away aged 66.

The much-loved host was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and revealed the news in 2018. He continued to present programmes both on TV and radio throughout his treatment. 

A statement from his family confirmed the news, saying: “Following a challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 31st August.

“Bill was diagnosed in 2017 and has had outstanding medical care from the Royal Marsden and Ipswich Hospitals, St Elizabeth Hospice and his GP.

“He was resolutely positive and was hugely buoyed by the support he received from friends, colleagues, and messages from people wishing him luck. It was a great comfort to Bill that so many more men are now testing earlier for this disease.

“Bill will be remembered by many as a remarkable broadcaster who brought warmth and humour into people’s homes on BBC Breakfast and Classic FM.

“He was also a devoted Wycombe Wanderers fan and an ever-aspiring beekeeper. Bill was a wonderful husband and father to his three children; his family and friends will miss how he always made them laugh, and the generosity and love he shared with those around him.”

Bill started his broadcasting career at Radio Clyde in 1978 before joining the the Today programme in 1986, and BBC’s Breakfast Time two years later. 

He reported around the world on some of the biggest news events across generations, including the OJ Simpson trial and Bill Clinton scandal. 

Bill co-hosted BBC Breakfast with Sian Williams from 2001 to 2012, and then joined Susanna Reid on the sofa until 2014. 

As well as breakfast news, the broadcaster also presented Songs of Praise, and took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, becoming the seventh celeb voted off that year.

Tributes for Bill have been pouring in from colleagues and fans. The BBC Breakfast Twitter account shared: “Former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull has died. He was 66. He was loved by our viewers. He was loved by his colleagues. Bill will always be remembered for his warmth, humour and being a brilliant journalist.”

Rory Cellen-Jones wrote: “Very sad to hear about Bill Turnbull. Great broadcaster, nice man.”

Former Breakfast host Dan Walker added: “Bill Turnbull was so kind and generous when I took over from him on BBC Breakfast. He was full of brilliant advice and it was clear just how loved he was by his colleagues and the audience. It was an honour to sit on his sofa. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Fellow broadcaster John Simpson said: “Very sorry to hear of the death of my former colleague Bill Turnbull.  He was charming and relaxed, and managed to combine being a clever, sharp reporter with sympathetic understanding as an interviewer.  And he faced a vicious disease with great courage.”

The thoughts of everyone at Virgin Radio go out to Bill's family and friends.