Global and BBC pay tribute to Classic FM presenter Bill Turnbull who has died aged 66

Classic FM presenter and former BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull has died at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017.

He passed away peacefully at home in Suffolk surrounded by his family on Wednesday after a “challenging” fight with advanced prostate cancer, they said.

Bill was diagnosed in 2017 and went public with the diagnosis the following year. He presented his last show on Classic FM just two weeks ago.

Philip Noyce – Managing Editor, Classic FM, has paid tribute: “I’m deeply saddened by this news. Bill was an absolute treasure of Classic FM whose presence on and off the air will forever be missed.

“He was a very gifted journalist and presenter, and he loved radio and understood its ability to connect with people on a personal level – something he did with ease and aplomb. As well as being an outstanding broadcaster, Bill was a family man, a devoted father and husband, who loved the company of friends (including the four-legged variety), and was passionate about music, football, nature and his beloved bees.

“We have lost an exceptionally talented broadcaster, but most of all we’ve said goodbye to a fine man who will be dearly missed by us all at Classic FM, as well as his many listeners.”

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General also paid tribute: “Bill was a much loved and respected broadcaster and journalist – not just by viewers but by all those lucky enough to have worked with him.

“He always struck the right tone, no matter what the story. Warm, wise, professional and caring, he will be much missed by us all.

“Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends.”

Bill began his career at Radio Clyde in 1978 and also worked in America for a number of years. He joined the BBC as a reporter for Radio 4’s Today programme in 1986 and Breakfast Time as a reporter in 1988.

He’s best known for his time at BBC Breakfast, which he joined in 2001 until 2016 when he joined Classic FM to present weekend shows.

Bill also launched and presented Pet Classics, Classic FM’s programmes to help keep pets and their owners relaxed and calm during fireworks season. In October 2021, Bill announced that he would take leave of absence from his weekend show. He returned to Classic FM in August this year, to host Saturday mornings.