Entertainment & Arts

DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile dies, aged 84

Former DJ, TV presenter and charity fundraiser Sir Jimmy Savile has died, aged 84.

Savile, who was one of the most famous names on British TV and radio in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, died on Saturday.

Police said they were called to his home in Leeds, but that there was nothing suspicious about his death.

His family programme, Jim'll Fix It, drew in huge audiences and the programme received 20,000 letters a week at the height of its popularity.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said officers were called to the house in Roundhay at 12:10 BST.

Details of how he died were not yet known, but he was recently in hospital with pneumonia.

His nephew, Roger Foster, said he "passed away quietly in his sleep during the night".

"Jimmy was a wonderful man. His public face is well-known but we knew him much more as an uncle. He was a very good friend. Jimmy will be sadly missed by very many people."

Broadcaster Tony Blackburn said Sir Jimmy was embraced by everybody, and was "always just Jimmy Savile".

"He was just a complete one-off. I think he was a bit of a lonely character as well. In the privacy of his own life I don't think he had very many friends."

He added: "I've never known anyone quite like him. He was a blunt speaking northerner, but also kind and very respectful."

Presenter Dave Lee Travis told Sky News: "We are all going to be worse off without him around."

Prince Charles has also praised Sir Jimmy in a statement released by Clarence House: "The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are saddened to hear of Jimmy Savile's death and their thoughts are with his family at this time," it said.

Savile started out as a dance hall DJ in the 1950s, before making his name as a broadcaster on Radio Luxembourg.

He was one of the first DJs on BBC Radio 1 and launched Top of the Pops in 1964.

He also appeared on the music show's final edition in 2006.

Charity fundraiser

His TV persona included chunky gold jewellery, a huge cigar, his trademark snowy white hair and a number of catch-phrases which were frequently parodied by impressionists such as Mike Yarwood.

Born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Savile was conscripted as a Bevin Boy, working in the coal mines during the war.

Away from broadcasting, he was noted for his charity work, running 200 marathons and raising £40m over the years.

He was a volunteer at the hospital and ran more than 200 marathons for various charitable organisations.

Sir Jimmy raised £20m for the creation of the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1983 after a storm damaged wooden huts which had housed spinal cord injury patients.

A spokeswoman for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said Sir Jimmy would be missed by staff and patients, adding: "He was tireless in his attempts to fundraise for the hospital and was integral in the creation of the National Spinal Injuries Centre that we have today."

Savile was knighted by the Queen in 1990 for his charity work.

More on this story