JOHN PEEL DIES OF HEART ATTACK

The broadcasting legend passes away aged 65...

JOHN PEEL has died of a heart attack aged 65.

The broadcasting legend, who had a career spanning over 40 years, was on holiday in Peru when he was taken ill.

A statement has been issued by the BBC which reads: “It has been confirmed that BBC radio broadcaster John Peel died from a heart attack last night whilst on holiday in Peru. He leaves behind his wife Sheila and four children.”

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said “John Peel was a broadcasting legend. I am deeply saddened by his death as are all who work at Radio 1. John’s influence has towered over the development of popular music for nearly four decades and his contribution to modern music and music culture is immeasurable.

“Hopeful bands all over the world sent their demo tapes to John knowing that he really cared. His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years. In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today. He will be hugely missed. “

BBC Director of Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky added “John Peel was a unique broadcaster whose influence on Radio 1 could be felt from its very first days. He nurtured musicians and listeners alike introducing them to new sounds. His open minded approach to music was mirrored by his equally generous approach to his audience when he went to Radio 4 to present Home Truths.

“He had a remarkable rapport with all his listeners. Everyone at BBC Radio is devastated by the news. John is simply irreplaceable. Our hearts go out to Sheila and his children.”

Musicians from across the world are already starting to pay tribute. Manic Street Preachers singer James Dean Bradfield said that he’d been a huge influence.

He said: “It was because of him I got to hear some of the most obscure but influential music I ever heard. He was a lifeline to hearing music I would never have heard otherwise. The service he provided was getting to hear music that you couldn’t buy in Cardiff. He was a portal to a whole new world.”

Fellow Welshman Gruff Rhys from [url=]Super Furry Animals described Peel as “very open-minded”.

He said: “He was very inclusive of all kinds of music, very open-minded, and introduced a lot of diverse music to the public. He championed Welsh language music and for years was the only DJ on national radio who was willing to embrace it. He was very wary of trends such as Britpop, he was introducing people to drum ‘n’ bass and techno, things that were going on outside of the media.”

The Undertones’ bassist Michael Bradley, whose band recorded Peel’s favourite ever song ‘Teenage Kicks’, spoke of his shock on learning of his death.

He told the BBC: “He was a very funny, very warm man and we will always be grateful for what he did for The Undertones.

“Personally, I find it incredible what he did for the band and we always got huge pride out of the fact that he said ‘Teenage Kicks’ was his favourite single.”

Blur’s Damon Albarn said: “John Peel’s patronage was for me, like countless other musicians, one of the most significant things that happened to us in our careers. The world is going to be a poorer place with his sudden departure. I will miss him deeply. I want to send my heartfelt sympathy to his lovely family. John’s memory will never be forgotten because he had the spirit of music in him.”

Guy Garvey of Elbow said: “He was the first person to ever play us on the radio which I am sure lots of people can say. I only met him once and was genuinely awestruck – it felt like meeting a relative, a distant uncle or something like that. He was a

warm and lovely man. I can’t think of anyone more loved in British music. We owe him everything.”

Peel favourites Mogwai issue a statement on their website, saying: “It seems right to pass our respects to one of the most important and down right nicest people we have known in music. John was unbelievably passionate about music as well as being incredibly humble…he was a champion and an inspiration and he will be greatly missed. Bye John.”

Siouxsie Sioux, who recently covered for Peel on his radio show said the news was “totally unexpected and devastating”.

She continued: “John championed Siouxsie & The Banshees and many more when no-one else would and he gave us our chance to discover what it was like to be in a studio with those early sessions. I know for a fact that those sessions were instrumental in getting us signed and releasing ’Hong Kong Garden’ as our first single in 1978. A unique maverick of the radio has been lost and I feel so sad.”

Peel was born in Heswall near Chester and started his radio career in Dallas, Texas.

Throughout the 1960s he worked at a number of radio stations across the US, before returning to Radio London in 1967.

Over a career spanning 40 years Peel consistently championed new music, and in 1994 was given the NME Godlike Genius award for his services to music.

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