Radio 4 presenter Steve Hewlett dies after cancer battle

Steve Hewlett died this morning surrounded by his family. Picture: Pixabay.Steve Hewlett died this morning surrounded by his family. Picture: Pixabay.
Steve Hewlett died this morning surrounded by his family. Picture: Pixabay.
BBC Radio 4 presenter Steve Hewlett has died at the age of 58.

The broadcaster died in the company of his family at London's Royal Marsden Hospital while listening to the music of Bob Dylan following a battle with cancer.

The news was confirmed by Radio 4's Eddie Mair during his Monday evening programme.

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In a statement, Hewlett's family said: "Over the last year, we have been overwhelmed by the support of friends, colleagues and Radio 4 listeners.

"The messages helped Steve enormously, especially over the last few months. The Royal Marsden have been amazing throughout the journey and we are indebted to all the wonderful staff there.

"We'd like to thank Eddie and all the PM listeners, and if people are still keen to help, then we'd like all donations to go towards the brilliant care the Marsden provide."

Hewlett was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in March last year.

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Lord Hall, the BBC's Director-General, paid tribute, describing Hewlett as an "exceptional journalist".

He said: "His analysis of the media industry was always essential listening. Steve was a trusted voice that embodied everything positive in public service journalism. He was hugely popular not just with viewers and listeners, but with BBC staff.

"When I saw him last week, I told him how much I have admired his brave interviews with Eddie Mair about his treatment which he did with a candour and sense of inquiry that was typically Steve.

"Our thoughts are with his family and many friends."

Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams said that he "will be much missed as an outstanding journalist".

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He added: "He was rational and informed, hard-nosed and witty, never taking himself too seriously but unpicking the stories he covered with great seriousness.

"We will certainly miss his weekly presence on Radio 4, and I will miss him personally as a longstanding colleague from the days when we worked together in News. We send our deepest sympathy to his family."

The BBC presenter and journalist recently revealed he had married his partner Rachel in hospital after being told he only had weeks to live.

The wedding was organised in the space of an hour after learning the treatment he was receiving for cancer could not continue.

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Hewlett joined Radio 4's current affairs programme The Media Show when it launched in 2008, and he was a prolific columnist for The Guardian.

His radio presence made him a household name but the broadcaster also had merits off-air, having held a long career behind the scenes as an award-winning editor and acclaimed producer.

He was the editor of the BBC's Panorama when Diana, Princess of Wales was interviewed by the programme's host Martin Bashir.

Hewlett's other credits included working as the director of programmes at Carlton TV - now Channel 4 - as well as producing programmes such as Diverse Reports, Second World War in Colour and an award-winning 1991 BBC documentary from the Maze prison.

Since his cancer diagnosis, Hewlett openly discussed his experience of coping with the disease and its treatment through his interviews with Mair and also in his cancer diaries for The Observer.