Keith Chegwin has died aged 60 following a “long-term battle with a progressive lung condition”, his family have announced.
In a statement, 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 the 11th of December.
“His wife Maria, his daughter Rose and his son Ted were by his side.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Severn Hospice for the kindness, support and care they have shown us all over the last few weeks.
“Keith was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. We would respectfully ask to be left to mourn his passing in private.”
The presenter, who was known as Cheggers to his fans, attended stage school as a child after being spotted in a talent competition by Phil Collins’ mother June of the Barbara Speake Stage School. He went on to land numerous TV, film and stage acting roles before crossing over into the world of radio as a DJ on BBC Radio 1.
This led to him presenting the children’s Saturday morning show ‘Multi-Coloured Swap Shop’ in the 1970s, alongside Noel Edmonds, John Craven and his future wife Maggie Philbinn, which assured him household name status.
He also fronted his own music show, ‘Cheggar’s Plays Pop’, on BBC One and co-hosted Swap Shop’s successor ‘Saturday Superstore’.
His career stalled in the late 1980s and 1990s after alcoholism took its toll, which he wrote about in his autobiography ‘Shaken But Not Stirred’.
After going sober, his career was revived in 1993 when he presented the Down Your Doorstep outside broadcast segment on Channel 4’s hugely successful ‘The Big Breakfast’.
Other TV presenting jobs followed, including a revival of the 1970’s gameshow ‘It’s A Knockout’ for Channel 5. But it was the sight of a very naked Cheggars presenting the gameshow ‘Naked Jungle’ that many will remember him for, which he later said was “the worst career move” of his life.
Other memorable TV appearances included playing himself in an episode of the Ricky Gervais sitcom ‘Extras’, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in 2015 and on ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ in the same year.
In a now poignant message, Cheggers updated his fans on his health on 28 September, tweeting: “Still not right. I will be back - But not for a bit yet. I’m so sorry.”
Many well known names from the world of showbiz have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to him, following the announcement of his death.
They included Phillip Schofield, Tony Blackburn, Lorraine Kelly, Paddy McGuinness and Bradley Walsh.