Skip to main content

TV presenter and former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith dies aged 59

Mike Smith, TV presenter and one of the founders of Comic Relief, has died after complications from major heart surgery, reports the BBC. He passed away on Friday, August 1.

Smith, a former DJ, spent six years at Radio 1 between 1982 and 1988, and was also a presenter on Top of the Pops and hosted the BBC's coverage of Live Aid.

His wife of 25 years, the TV presenter Sarah Greene, said she would like to thank hospital staff for their care and compassion.

She asked her family and friends to be allowed to mourn in peace.

Smith joined BBC Radio 1 from Capital Radio in 1982. He then graduated to the breakfast show, taking over from Mike Read in May 1986.

He did the job for two years, during which time Diana, Princess of Wales, declared he was her favourite DJ.

He and his wife hit the headlines in September 1988 when they were both seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire.

Smith, who was piloting the aircraft, crashed it into some trees.

Both survived but Greene broke both her legs and an arm, while Smith suffered a suffered a broken back and ankle.

The couple became engaged soon after the crash and were married a year later.

Smith, who was born in Essex, was also well known for his TV appearances in the 1980s on the BBC's Breakfast Time, and The Late, Late Breakfast Show alongside Noel Edmonds,

He founded his company, Flying TV, which supplies aerial shots for UK broadcasters, in 2003.

He had rarely appeared on TV or radio in recent years - instead focusing on his business - but was interviewed in 2010 by Chris Moyles for a BBC documentary about Radio 1 breakfast show presenters.

Smith said at the time: “I miss radio tremendously, TV not so much.

“Radio has a contact with the audience in a very special way. It's a privilege to be allowed into people's lives.”

Noel Edmonds, a long-term friend of the couple, led the tributes: "I am totally stunned and heartbroken for Sarah and his family.

"Mike introduced me to motor racing and I introduced him to radio.

"He was so much more than simply a presenter. Mike was that rare individual - the consummate broadcaster in an era when professionalism, dedication and hard work were truly valued.

"I am typing this through the tears. I wish I had told him more forcefully and frequently how much I admired his talent and valued his support."

Tony Blackburn, the original Breakfast Show host, tweeted: "Very sorry to hear about Mike Smith passing away, although I didn't work with him I met him on several occasions and he was a nice man R.I.P"

Phillip Schofield, who presented Going Live! with Greene, tweeted: "There are no words. My wonderful, bright, funny, thoughtful friend Mike Smith has passed away @RealSarahGreene I'm so so sorry my darling."

Author and broadcaster Sue Cook also expressed her feelings on twitter: "Really sad to hear of the death of my old colleague and co-presenter Mike Smith. Taken far too young. Massive sympathies to @RealSarahGreene."

And showbiz veteran Keith Chegwin tweeted: "Very sad news about Mike Smith. A nice man & great broadcaster. Condolences to Sarah & his family. Far too young #mikesmith."