KEITH Chegwin, the legendary TV presenter, died at the age of 60 on Monday after a long illness, which left his family “heartbroken” and his admirers devastated.
A statement from his family 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.”
“Keith died peacefully at home shortly after midnight on 11th December. His wife Maria, daughter Rose and his son Ted were by his side.”
Cheggers was best known, perhaps, for hosting TV programmes such as children’s game show Cheggers Plays Pop, Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore.
The Liverpool-born star began his career as a child actor, starring in films such as Roman Polanski’s Macbeth, and in TV shows, including The Liver Birds, The Adventures of Black Beauty and Z-Cars.
He went on to appear in reality TV shows, including Celebrity Big Brother.
Sadly, his last tweet was posted on 28th September, when he wrote: “Still not right. I will be back – But not for a bit yet. I’m so sorry.”
Tributes were paid from the world of entertainment for “Cheggers”, whose career spanned five decades.
Noel Edmonds, a fellow TV presenter, described him as his “first telly chum”, adding: “I’m certain I’m not alone in shedding tears for a true telly legend.”
“Cheggers and I launched Swap Shop together. Yes, we had the wonderful broadcaster John Craven to keep us in line, but it was the chemistry between myself and Keith that initially created the Swap Shop magic that enthralled millions of children every Saturday morning on BBC 1.”
Keith’s former wife, Maggie Philbin, said: “Keith was a one-off, full of life, generous and with a focus on things that mattered – his family.
“He was loved by everyone who knew and worked with him. I first met him when we did a film about windsurfing, when I joined Swap Shop in 1978, and I was immediately struck by his fun, energy and kindness.
“He drove me home to Leicestershire from that freezing lake in Staines, insisting it was on his own way home (he lived in Twickenham).”
She added:“He leaves us all with very special memories.”
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