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Keith Chegwin dies

The TV presenter has died aged 60 following a “long-term battle with a progressive lung condition”, his family said.

Keith has been remembered by his Swap Shop co-star and good friend Noel Edmonds as a “true telly legend”.

In a statement Noel said he “shed tears” for the funnyman, who died today at the age of 60 following a prolonged lung condition.

Keith and Noel became best mates after working on the show together John Craven and Maggie Philbin with for many years.

In his emotional statement, Noel said: I’ve lost my first real telly chum and I’m certain I’m not alone in shedding tears for a true telly legend.

“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 BBC 1.

“Only those who’ve presented live television really know how difficult it is to make it look easy.

Keith and Noel became best mates after working on the show together John Craven and Maggie Philbin with for many years.

In his emotional statement, Noel said: I’ve lost my first real telly chum and I’m certain I’m not alone in shedding tears for a true telly legend.

“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 BBC 1.

“Only those who’ve presented live television really know how difficult it is to make it look easy.

“He was at his best on location, with a film crew chasing him and a member of the public about to be surprised on their doorstep.

“The greatest achievement for any TV performer is for the viewers to regard you as a friend and today millions will be grateful for Keith’s contribution to their childhood memories and like me they will mourn the passing of a friend.”

As one of British TV’s most memorable faces for the past 30 years, dozens of stars, friends and family have come out to relay their poignant and heartfelt memories of the star and what he brought to their lives throughout the years.

Phillip Schofield was one of the first to lead the tributes, and wrote: “I’m so stunned to hear that the utterly lovely @keithchegwin has died. Can’t get my head round this. One of my original Saturday morning heroes. Sending all my love to his family ?”

His co-presenter Rylan Clark-Neal also sent his condolences, and remembered the comedian fondly by writing: “Can’t believe it about Keith . Such a lovely man at Big Bro and a great host Pleasure to have met him. RIP Cheggers x”

Timmy Mallett, who alongside Keith became one of the leading faces of children’s TV, remembered his time with the star by writing: “The saddest news, I’m numb. Dear Cheggers made the world smile. Such lovely happy times with him. Joyfully happy in his new home. My heart goes out to all the family. #RIP”

Michelle Visage, who starred alongside him during Celebrity Big Brother, sent her love to his family by writing: “This is awful. I had a blast with him in cbb and what I remember most was His family was his everything. I send his wife and kids much love and condolences. #RIPCheggers”

Similarly, Samia Longchambon, who performed alongside him during his sting on Dancing on Ice, added: “Devastated to hear that wonderful @keithchegwin has passed away. Was a total pleasure to work with him and get to know him when we did @dancingonice he was a true gent #RIP ??”

Veteran broadcaster Tony Blackburn was next to send his love and wrote: “I’m absolutely devastated to hear that my friend Keith Chegwin has died. He was one of the nicest people I have ever known and over the years we did shows together and became great friends. Keith RIP.”

Ricky Gervais, who Keith credited for giving his career a “new lease of life” after his cameo in sitcom Extras, celebrated the star’s life with a throwback to an x-rated joke Keith made on the show.

He wrote: “So sad to hear about the death of the lovely & funny Keith Chegwin. RIP you National Treasure. #PopK***InF****”

Fellow comedian Bobby Davro also sent his love and shared memories of his friend by writing: “I have known Keith Chegwin for many years.

“He was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in this biz I had been told he was very poorly but unable to contact him for a while What a dreadful shame to lose such a lovely friend Love to his family RIP Cheggers! I’ll miss that smile.”

His ex-wife Maggie Philbin also paid her respects, and said: “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.”

The entertainer became a household name in 1970s when he presented Multi-Coloured Swap Shop alongside Noel Edmonds, John Craven and Maggie Philbin.

In September he apologised to fans in September for not tweeting, saying: “Still not right. I will be back – But not for a bit yet. I’m so sorry.”

In a statement today, Chegwin’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.
 

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