Television presenter Keith Chegwin has died aged 60 after suffering from a progressive lung condition.
In a statement yesterday, the star’s 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.”
During a career which spanned over 40 years, Liverpool born Keith was a popular actor and television broadcaster.
He was bitten by the showbiz bug early and attended stage school as a youngster and starred in West End productions such as The Good Old Bad Old Days.
— Keith Chegwin (@keithchegwin) June 30, 2016
Swap Shop took him into television presenting in the 1970s and his popularity led to his own children’s game show Cheggers Plays Pop.
Hi Swap Shop co-star Noel Edmonds broke down in tears live on radio this afternoon as he paid tribute to Keith Chegwin, saying his death came as “a profound shock”.
“I’ve lost my first real telly chum and I’m certain I’m not alone in shedding tears for a true telly legend,” Edmonds told the Radio Times yesterday.
“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 BBC1.
“Only those who’ve presented live television really know how difficult it is to make it look easy.
“I had the luxury of hosting the show from behind the desk in a warm studio but Keith was out on the road in all weathers. He was an extraordinary showman capable of entertaining a vast crowd of excited children during the long periods between his live contributions to the show.” – Noel Edmonds
He went on the present the 1999 reboot of It’s A Knockout and also worked on GMTV.
He also branched out into music as part of pop band Brown Sauce alongside fellow presenters Maggie Philbin and Noel Edmonds. The trio released the one-off hit I Wanna Be a Wiinner in 1981.
Keith was previously married to fellow Swap Shop and Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin, who said in a statement on her website: “It is incredibly sad. Keith was a one-off – full of life, generous and with a focus on things that mattered – his family.”
“I saw him two months ago at his sister Janice’s wedding, where he was still attempting to be life and soul of the party despite being on portable oxygen and made sure he knew how much he meant to us all.
“Our daughter Rose flew home from San Francisco to be with him over the last few weeks and I know he was surrounded by so much love from his second wife Maria, their son Ted, his sister Janice, his twin brother Jeff and his father Colin.
“Keith 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 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). He leaves us all with very special memories.” – Maggie Philbin
In recent years, he appeared on several reality shows including Celebrity MasterChef, Dancing On Ice and Celebrity Big Brother, which saw him place fourth in 2015.
Keith is survived by his wife Maria Anne, daughter Rose and his son Ted.