Bill Turnbull: 'He was loved by our viewers. He was loved by his colleagues' Tributes paid to former BBC Breakfast host
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Turnbull, who appeared on BBC Breakfast from 2001 until 2016, died following a battle with prostate cancer after being diagnosed in 2017.
Former colleagues and media professionals have paid tribute to the legendary broadcaster following the news of his death.
BBC Breakfast’s presenters paid an emotional tribute to Bill Turnbull after his death was announced live on air.
Hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty, both visibly tearful, remembered their predecessor on the BBC One morning show as “our friend and former colleague” and an “amazing” journalist with a “wise head”.
Addressing viewers at the end of Thursday’s show, Stayt said: “He was a wise head, he didn’t take himself too seriously when he sat here, which is a great combination.”
Munchetty added: “Of course all of us here are sending love and support to Bill’s family, to Sesi his wife, and I think today after we get over the shock of this, we will start remembering the really funny things that Bill did.
“When I was presenting with him, his energy was amazing, he came into this programme and threw everything at it. Every single day, he was funny when we sat here on sofa, he was a brilliant journalist, and he loved this programme and he loved serving you, the audience. So I’m sure you will miss him, and we certainly will too.”
BBC Breakfast paid tribute to former presenter.
A tweet said: “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.”
Turnbull’s former colleague and co-presenter, Susanna Reid, described him as “the kindest, funniest, most generous man in the business”.
She tweeted: “I feel lucky to have worked with him and he taught me everything.
“But above all, he was devoted to his family and I am heartbroken for them. RIP Bill. We will miss you so much.”
Former BBC Breakfast co-presenter Louise Minchin highlighted Bill Turnbull’s sense of humour in a tribute shared on Twitter.
“Sending my love and thoughts to the family of my wonderful friend Bill Turnbull. He was a brilliant journalist, a stickler for accuracy, passionate about @BBCBreakfast and a fabulously supportive and kind team-player,” she tweeted.
“Most of all he was great fun, I love how he made me laugh. Xx”
Former BBC presenter Dan Walker said it was an “honour to sit on his sofa”.
He tweeted: “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.”
BBC broadcaster John Simpson tweeted: “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.”
Former BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern also paid tribute saying “We all loved him.”
She tweeted: “Absolutely gutted that our Bill Turnbull has passed away.
“A fantastic broadcaster and a brilliant friend… I learnt so much from him. And we had some cracking arguments about how you should pronounce words like ‘poor’.
“We all loved him #RIPBill.”
Lord Alan Sugar tweeted: “Sadly Bill Turnbull has passed he was a great presenter and a nice guy R.I.P”.
BBC Radio 4 Today presenters Nick Robinson and Mishal Husain also paid tribute.
Speaking on the programme on Thursday morning, Robinson said: “We’ve lost a very dear friend and an extraordinary broadcaster.
“There was a warmth to his broadcasting. People who watched breakfast television every day just knew how warm Bill was and perhaps what they forgot was what a bloody good journalist he was.
“This was a man who’d been a correspondent in Washington, who travelled 30 countries. He’d been in Moscow, he’d covered wars, he’d reported on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
“And that combination of a razor-sharp intellect, wit, humour and humanity came out every day when he was on Breakfast. It came out when as a reporter, and listeners of Classic FM will have heard him present beautifully as well, his love of music.
“I remember fondly, you do (too) Mishal – we’ve both been visitors to his house – that he and his wife, who met together, they met on this programme.”
Husain added: “He’ll be remembered across BBC News. Bill Turnbull, rest in peace.”
Philip Noyce, the managing editor of Classic FM said in a statement: “I’m deeply saddened by this news.
“Bill was an absolute treasure of Classic FM whose presence on and off the air will forever be missed.
“He was a very gifted journalist and presenter, and he loved radio and understood its ability to connect with people on a personal level – something he did with ease and aplomb.
“As well as being an outstanding broadcaster, Bill was a family man, a devoted father and husband, who loved the company of friends (including the four-legged variety), and was passionate about music, football, nature and his beloved bees.
“We have lost an exceptionally talented broadcaster, but most of all we’ve said goodbye to a fine man who will be dearly missed by us all at Classic FM, as well as his many listeners.”
Former BBC Breakfast presenter Turnbull joined Classic FM in 2016 where he hosted Saturday and Sunday programmes from 10am to 1pm. He also launched and presented Classic FM’s Pet Classics, to help keep pets and their owners relaxed during fireworks season.