Entertainment & Arts

Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2 presenter, pays tribute to mother

Chris Evans with his mother in 2000 Image copyright REX/Shutterstock
Image caption Chris Evans and his mother attended the 2000 Chelsea Flower Show
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BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans has paid tribute to his "incredible" mother Minnie, after finding out she had died aged 92, just before he went on air.

Sports reporter Vassos Alexander stepped in to host Evans' breakfast show on Thursday, reading a statement to explain the presenter's absence.

"I needed to go straight back home to be with the family," Evans said.

"But it's all OK, in fact it's very OK. Mum needed to be at peace," said Evans, who promised to return on Friday.

"She was an incredible woman, anyone who's ever met her will tell you that. And ultimately there was no battle lost, only a life won every single day," he continued.

"If Mum had the first idea I might not have shown up today because of her, she would have been furious."

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Media captionVassos Alexander reads out a message from Chris Evans about his mother's death

At the end of the breakfast show, Alexander thanked the "thousands of" listeners who had sent Evans well wishes.

"We will of course pass them on to Chris and his family," he said as he handed over to Ken Bruce at 08:30 BST.

Bruce, who began his morning show an hour earlier than usual, praised Alexander for filling in at short notice.

"Dear old Chris has suffered a bereavement in his family," he told his listeners. "We're all wishing him the very best."

Chris Evans statement in full

Good morning everyone. The reason I'm not with you today is because just before we came on air my mum passed away and I needed to go straight back home to be with the family. But it's all OK, in fact it's very OK. Mum needed to be at peace.

Moreover, she deserved to be at peace. We've been ready for this for some time now and, as she has throughout her life, in death she's brought us together. She was an incredible woman.

Anyone who's ever met her will tell you that and ultimately there was no battle lost, only a life won. Every single day. I'll be back tomorrow.

If Mum had the first idea I might not have shown up today because of her she'd have been furious. I hope you all have a lovely Thursday. See you tomorrow.

Listeners to Evans' breakfast show were often kept abreast of his mother's activities. Last year, the DJ revealed on Twitter she had tried pizza for the first time at the age of 91, after undergoing an eye operation.

Also last year, Evans said he had sought his mother's advice when it was disclosed he was the BBC's highest-paid presenter.

He said she had told him to "earn what you can, when you can, while you can" doing a job he loved.

In his memoir It's Not What You Think, Evans described his mother as "one of the original night nurses" who he had "never heard complain once".

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Media captionChris Evans told his listeners that he'd asked his mum for advice after his salary was revealed

"In fact, she only ever laughed about the crazy episodes her and her colleagues came across while the rest of us were in the land of nod."

In the same book, he also revealed the "top 10 best things about Mrs Evans senior".

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Media captionIn 2014 Chris caught up with his mum, who shared her stories of D-Day, 70 years on

Among them he listed "her rapier wit", "her vivid imagination" and "her wicked laugh" along with her "magic hotpot from the war recipe, hardly any meat but oh so meaty!".

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was among many to offer condolences to the broadcaster on social media.

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