Bill Turnbull, who hosted BBC Breakfast for 15 years, died on Aug. 31, surrounded by his family. He was 66. Turnbull, who also hosted Songs of Praise and Think Tank, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017.
“Bill will be remembered by many as a remarkable broadcaster who brought warmth and humor into people’s homes,” his family said in a statement to BBC News. “Following a challenging and committed fight against prostate cancer, Bill passed away peacefully at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 31 August.” His family went on to thank the “outstanding medical care” he received from the Royal Marsden and Ispwich Hospitals, and St. Elizabeth Hospice.
“He was resolutely positive and was hugely buoyed by the support he received from friends, colleagues, and messages from people wishing him luck,” his family continued. They said it was a “great comfort” to him that men were getting tested for prostate cancer earlier after he publicly announced his prostate cancer battle in 2018. Turnbull was also a “wonderful husband and father to his three children.”
Turnbull’s gentle broadcasting style made him a favorite among BBC Breakfast viewers. He worked with Sian Williams, Susanna Reid, Kate Silverton, Natasha Kaplinsky, and Louise Minchin before he left in 2016. He then joined Classic FM and continued hosting shows until recently.
Turnbull announced his cancer diagnosis in March 2018. He then devoted much of his career to raising awareness for the disease, urging men to get tested as early as they can. He hosted a Channel 4 documentary called Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive, in which he looked into the of use cannabis oil for medicinal purposes. Prostate Cancer UK even said that after Turnbull announced his diagnoses, their nurses experienced the “busiest day on record” with a rise in web traffic.
After news of Turnbull’s death broke, the U.K. media industry united in sharing condolences to his family and praising his career. “As a team, we are in shock this morning. He cared so much about this program and the audience. I did my first ever shift with him on Breakfast,” BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty said during the Sept. 1 broadcast. “His energy was amazing. He came into this program and threw everything at it. He was funny; he was a brilliant journalist. He loved this program and he loved serving you, the audience.”
“An incredibly sad loss of a broadcasting legend,” U.K. Culture Minister Nadine Dorries tweeted. “Bill brought a special charm and wit to BBC Breakfast and was a joy to listen to on Classic FM. He also faced his diagnosis with characteristic warmth and humor – working tirelessly to raise awareness. May he Rest In Peace.”