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  1. ITV Report

BBC forced to backtrack after mistakenly announcing radio presenter Brian Matthew was dead

Brian Matthew was a well-known voice on BBC Radio 2. Credit: PA

The BBC mistakenly declared former Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew dead, prompting an outpouring of tributes - despite him being "critically ill".

On Wednesday the corporation were forced into a u-turn after announcing that Mr Matthew, who hosted Sounds Of The 60s for 27 years, had passed away.

But just hours later the BBC retracted the premature announcement, describing Mr Matthew's condition as "critically ill".

Explaining its mistake, the BBC said: "We were informed by close family and friends that Brian had passed away in the night. They have since been in contact to say that he remains critically ill."

Mr Matthew, who was once dubbed Britain's oldest DJ, stepped down from Sounds Of The 60s after nearly three decades in February because of ill health.

But he criticised the BBC decision to replace him, describing it as "balderdash" in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The premature announcement of Mr Matthew's death was widely shared on social media - including by rock band The Who, who were also forced to release a clarification.

The band tweeted: "The BBC now say that Brian Matthew has not passed away but is critically ill. Our thoughts are with him."

After the error the BBC said they would "update with more information" when they had it, adding: "Our thoughts remain with his family at this very difficult time."

The broadcaster's correction came after director-general Tony Hall had led tributes to the veteran DJ, with stars from across the world of entertainment and music also expressing sadness over the news.