Last updated: 10 march, 2009 - 17:57 GMT

Charlie Gillett

Charlie Gillett

Photo by Philip Ryalls

BBC World Service DJ Charlie Gillett - the man who helped coin the term "world music" - has died after a long illness at the age of 68.

The Lancashire-born broadcaster passed away in a London hospital on Wednesday 17 March 2010.

Gillett is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing Sultans of Swing from their demo tape on his Radio London show Honky Tonk.

He also wrote an acclaimed history of rock 'n' roll, The Sound of the City, in the 1970s.

It’s all been a dream that I’m always expecting to be woken up from. For the presenter to be able to choose what he or she plays on the radio is an increasingly rare privilege, and I never cease to be thankful to those who let me get away with it.

Charlie Gillett

World Service director Peter Horrocks said Gillett was an inspiration whose spirit of adventure and passion for the rich diversity of global music opened the ears of the world.

"His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far flung corners of the globe," he said.

"His postbag was one of the biggest, most affectionate and diverse in Bush House, which confirmed his special place in listener's lives. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed."

Charlie's Career Highlights

  • Began presenting for the BBC in 1972 on the weekly programme Honky Tonk
  • Won Sony Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991
  • Also won the Sony awards 2002 for 'Best Specialist Music Show'
  • Author of The Sound of The City which has sold 250,000 copies
  • Also works as a music consultant for advertising agencies and film companies

Listen to Charlie on

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