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‘I’m a blubbery mess’: Emotional Radio 2 listeners break down in tears during first Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs since the legendary DJ’s sudden death – and hail stand-in host Liza Tarbuck’s ‘perfect’ tribute


Emotional Radio 2 listeners broke down in tears today as Liza Tarbuck presented Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs just days after the legendary DJ’s sudden death.

The legendary BBC Radio 2 presenter died aged 69 on Monday – four years after his ex-wife passed away during Covid which made him ‘completely shut down’.

Throughout the special episode, which aired on Sunday morning, Tarbuck said the show would continue but ‘without the chief’ before reading out heartfelt tributes from Wright’s long-time listeners.  

Fighting back tears, Tarbuck, 59, opened the ‘Remembering Steve Wright‘ episode by saying: ‘This is Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs but without the chief, without our genius friend.’

Her voice shaking, she added: ‘So while you’re getting a tissue, I think it would be lovely if you lit him a candle. I make no apologies if I get upset over the next two hours and I don’t think you should either.’

Tarbuck was later hailed by Radio 2 listeners for carrying out the ‘perfect’ tribute to Wright. One wrote: ‘I’m a blubbery mess listening to Liza Tarbuck on today’ Sunday Love Songs. Beautiful. The perfect choice.’ 

Legendary Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright (pictured) who was one of the most familiar voices on the airwaves in the UK, died aged 69 on Monday

Legendary Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright (pictured) who was one of the most familiar voices on the airwaves in the UK, died aged 69 on Monday

Liza Tarbuck (pictured) tearfully paid tribute to Steve Wright on the last ever episode of his Sunday Love Songs show

Liza Tarbuck (pictured) tearfully paid tribute to Steve Wright on the last ever episode of his Sunday Love Songs show

Wright pictured with his ex-wife Cyndi Robinson before they jetted off for their honeymoon. The couple married in 1972 but divorced in 1999. Cyndi died in July 2020 aged 65

Wright pictured with his ex-wife Cyndi Robinson before they jetted off for their honeymoon. The couple married in 1972 but divorced in 1999. Cyndi died in July 2020 aged 65

Another listener added: ‘Liza Tarbuck take a bow. You got it spot on with Steve Wright Sunday Morning Love Songs today. Really lovely tribute and every song seemed to be such a perfect fit.

‘Such an end of an era. Love songs bring generations together and Steve Wright did just that. I’ll miss him.’

A third said: ‘You did a brilliant job today Liza Tarbuck, you had be crying at one point, what a tribute to a great, great man, sleep well, sweet, sweet Steve Wright.’ 

Wright’s final show was last Sunday, when he hosted a pre-recorded edition of his programme for Valentine’s Day. Wright told listeners in his final sign-off: ‘I’ll be back for more love songs next Sunday, ta-da then.’

But he was tragically found dead at his home on Monday at the age of 69.

As well as presenting his Sunday Love Songs show on Radio 2, Wright was also a long-standing presenter of Top Of The Pops on BBC One.

It comes as a close friend revealed Wright had secret heart surgery shortly after BBC bosses axed his Radio 2 afternoon show and was ‘more ill than he had been letting on’.

Speaking on the Behind The Scenes with Colin Edmonds podcast, Wright’s friend Mark Wells said: ‘Steve told me he had a heart operation about 14 or 15 months ago after he finished Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio 2.

‘He had a bypass operation which had gone well but I think he had been more ill than he had been letting on to that point. 

Locals living near Steve Wright's £2million flat in London say the DJ became extremely withdrawn after the pandemic

Locals living near Steve Wright’s £2million flat in London say the DJ became extremely withdrawn after the pandemic 

Emotional Radio 2 listeners broke down in tears today as Tarbuck presented Wright's much-loved show just days after his death

Emotional Radio 2 listeners broke down in tears today as Tarbuck presented Wright’s much-loved show just days after his death 

‘The recovery from that had gone pretty well though obviously the events of the last couple of days would suggest that’s what in the end came for him.’

Wright is said to have become extremely withdrawn and stopped going out after his ex-wife died during Covid.

Locals living near the DJ’s £2million flat say he ‘completely shut down’ after the pandemic.

Neighbours told The Sun he stopped drinking in the area and believe the sudden death of his ex-wife Cyndi Robinson at the age of 65 in July 2020 had hit Wright hard. 

The couple divorced ‘out of the blue’ in 1999 after 27 years of marriage in which they had two children together – Lucy and Tom.  

Wright’s son, Tom, had been living in Los Angeles but revealed he returned to the UK to care for his father before his death.

One neighbour said Wright stopped going out in recent years after the country came out of the Covid pandemic. 

‘He was a different person. even before his radio show ended,’ they said. ‘He was extremely withdrawn.’

Tom Wright had been living in Los Angeles but returned to the UK to care for his father

Tom Wright had been living in Los Angeles but returned to the UK to care for his father

It has been claimed Wright was in talks to host his own TV show, 18-months after being replaced on the radio by Scott Mills.

His friend of 40 years, publicist Gary Farrow, said he believes Wright ‘died from a broken heart’ after he was ‘devastated’ to lose his popular Radio 2 afternoon slot in 2022.

But Tom has now spoken out about his gratitude over getting the opportunity to bond with his father in his final days.

In a touching post on social media, the grieving son said: ‘It meant the world to me that I was able to get to know my Dad in a way I never had in the months before he died.

‘I will cherish every moment we shared and every memory we made.

‘I only hope to make him proud and build on his legacy with kindness and love.’

Loving father Steve is pictured holding a beaming Thomas during a family snap in July 1988

Loving father Steve is pictured holding a beaming Thomas during a family snap in July 1988

The DJ was married to Cyndi Robinson until they divorced in 1999. They are pictured on their wedding day

The DJ was married to Cyndi Robinson until they divorced in 1999. They are pictured on their wedding day 

The last picture of the legendary broadcaster shows him larking around and taking 'ironic selfies' with a friend in New York just weeks before his death

The last picture of the legendary broadcaster shows him larking around and taking ‘ironic selfies’ with a friend in New York just weeks before his death

Steve Wright, who died at the age of 69, pictured in his studio in 1994

Steve Wright, who died at the age of 69, pictured in his studio in 1994 

Wright being surprised in his studio by  Paul McCartney. Also pictured is his production assistant Dianne Oxberry

Wright being surprised in his studio by  Paul McCartney. Also pictured is his production assistant Dianne Oxberry

The DJ with Alice Cooper at the Sony Radio Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel on May 12, 2004

The DJ with Alice Cooper at the Sony Radio Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel on May 12, 2004

He added: ‘This made every struggle worthwhile to have had this time with him before we lost him.’

Just two days before his father passed away, Tom posted that he had returned to Britain to spend a week with him before he received his MBE awarded in the New Year Honours list.

He said he hopes to find comfort in recordings of his father’s radio broadcasts one day. 

Tom wrote about losing both of his parents: ‘Thank the Gods I’m sober, as this would have straight up killed me even a couple years ago after losing Mum over the pandemic in the same way without getting to see him before he passed after flying back to take care of the old blighter.’

Wright was found dead at his £2million flat on Monday morning after paramedics were called to an ‘incident‘, MailOnline revealed.

Emergency services rushed to the star’s home in Marylebone, central London, just after 10am on February 12, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His ‘unexpected’ death is not being treated as suspicious with a report being prepared for the coroner, police said.

The radio personality presented programmes for BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades.

George Michael pictured with BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright

George Michael pictured with BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright

DJ Steve Wright arrives for the Sony Radio Awards 2003

DJ Steve Wright arrives for the Sony Radio Awards 2003

Steve Wright pictured with radio DJ's Tony Blackburn (left), and Paul Gambaccini (right)

Steve Wright pictured with radio DJ’s Tony Blackburn (left), and Paul Gambaccini (right)

Steve Wright pictured in 1980

Steve Wright pictured in 1980

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We were called at 10.07am on Monday 12 February to reports of an incident.

‘We sent a number of resources to the scene. Very sadly, a person was pronounced dead at the scene.’

It comes as the last picture of the legendary broadcaster shows him larking around and taking ‘ironic selfies’ with a friend in New York just weeks before his death.

Wright’s heartbroken brother blamed the BBC star’s death on his poor diet and claimed that he concealed his health problems from his family, MailOnline revealed.

Laurence Wright, 65, also shut down claims that the Corporation’s decision to axe him from his long-running Radio 2 Afternoon Show contributed to his death, revealing the veteran star was ‘thankful’ for the rest.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Laurence said: ‘He was aware that he could have looked after himself better, in his lifestyle choices. Obviously we all wish he had.

‘It’s like anyone who doesn’t look after themselves over an extended period. The normal stuff – diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress – he was a very stoic kind of guy as well so if he had something wrong with him and he had to go to have some treatment or go to the doctors, he wouldn’t talk about it.

‘He was the kind of guy who would just carry on, take care of it, not talk about it, not make a big thing, that kind of stoic sort of attitude.

‘That’s just how he was – that probably didn’t help really, because he wouldn’t have help or take advice necessarily.’

Laurence Wright (pictured), the brother of Steve Wright, blamed the DJ's death on his poor diet and claims he hid health problems from his family

Laurence Wright (pictured), the brother of Steve Wright, blamed the DJ’s death on his poor diet and claims he hid health problems from his family

Wright in a photo taken in 1995

Wright in a photo taken in 1995 

He said Wright didn’t feel he should have been sacked from his popular show – but needed a break. 

Fellow Radio 2 DJ Paul Gambaccini shares his tribute to Steve Wright

In an article for The Telegraph, fellow Radio 2 presenter Paul Gambaccini shared an emotional tribute to his friend Steve Wright. 

He wrote: ‘Steve was the epitome of Terry Wogan’s truism: either they like you or they don’t. And they liked Steve Wright. They liked that tone of optimism and sunshine in his voice. He made people feel good.

‘He was the ultimate mass audience broadcaster. He had a gift that lasted across the generations, and that’s why even at the time of his death his audiences were in the millions.’

Laurence, a director of a company in the health industry, says his older brother’s tendency for eating out at restaurants combined with his reluctance to talk about various ‘health issues’, keeping his family in the dark, were the main factors behind his shock death.

On Wednesday morning BBC Radio 2 was ‘inundated’ with messages paying tribute to Wright in the first morning show since his death.

The channel was overwhelmed with calls from ‘devastated’ listeners who revealed how the ‘kind, funny, humble and loveable’ star put a smile on their faces each week.

Fans shared their heartfelt memories with a teary Nicki Chapman while she sat in for Zoe Ball, who was absent for unknown reasons, in a special BBC breakfast show dedicated to the beloved broadcaster.

The ‘one in a million’ radio presenter was adored by generations of families across the UK, with some saying he ‘was like a friend’ and others expressing how they are struggling to come to terms with his death.

Nicki started the show by saying: ‘It is so difficult to sum up what Steve meant to all of us. The devastatingly sad news has come as a complete shock.

‘Everyone seems to have such fond memories of our Wrighty because that’s how we viewed and that’s how we listened to him.

‘He was ours. He was our mate, talking to us in our kitchens as we made a brew, in our bedrooms, in the shower, in our cars, taxis, lorries, in our form rooms at school, in our gardens, at work – he was always in our hearts.’

She added: ‘It is a difficult day, it is a difficult day for all of us but we are doing him justice.’

BBC Breakfast presenters Roger Johnson and Luxmy Gopal during the awkward section where a photo of DJ Simon Bates, 77, was shown instead of Steve Wright, who died last week aged 69

BBC Breakfast presenters Roger Johnson and Luxmy Gopal during the awkward section where a photo of DJ Simon Bates, 77, was shown instead of Steve Wright, who died last week aged 69

The image of Simon Bates, 77,used by the BBC - where Steve Wright spent much of his career - on BBC Breakfast this morning. Bates hosts two shows for rival station Boom Radio

The image of Simon Bates, 77,used by the BBC – where Steve Wright spent much of his career – on BBC Breakfast this morning. Bates hosts two shows for rival station Boom Radio

People on X, formerly Twitter, heavily criticised the BBC for the mishap calling the broadcaster 'useless'

People on X, formerly Twitter, heavily criticised the BBC for the mishap calling the broadcaster ‘useless’ 

Meanwhile, fans have criticised BBC Breakfast after it mistakenly showed a photo of DJ Simon Bates while trailing a tribute to the late DJ.

On the news programme this morning, presenter Luxmy Gopal introduced a forthcoming tribute to Wright using a photo of former BBC Radio DJ Bates.

Gopal told viewers: ‘Tributes continue to pour in from the world of radio for the legendary DJ Steve Wright. We will speak to his co-host Janey Lee Grace later on in the programme.’

Spotting the error, co-host Roger Johnson quickly interjected, saying: ‘That’s not Steve Wright by the way in case you were wondering, that’s Simon Bates.’

Viewers were critical of the embarrassing gaffe though, with many taking to X to comment.

One wrote: ‘Should be ashamed! Showing a picture of Simon Bates when you are telling us you are going to pay tribute to Steve Wright.

‘Not like he gave his entire career to the BBC or anything! Try and get the right material ready for the piece eh!’

Another added: ‘What went wrong with the prog this morning? Trying to make a tribute about Steve Wright and wrongly showing a pic of Simon Bates? Come on! He worked in the same organisation for heavens sake. Unforgivable.’

Veteran DJ Simon Bates, 77, worked at the BBC from 1971 until 1993 and now presents shows on rival station Boom radio.

MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment.



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