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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 14:26 GMT
DJ Tommy Vance dies after stroke
Tommy Vance

Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Tommy Vance has died in hospital three days after suffering a stroke.

Vance, 63, died at Darent Valley Hospital near Dartford, Kent, early on Sunday morning, his agent said.

The DJ, famous for his gravelly voice, started out on US radio before working at Radio Caroline and Radio 1.

"He was a great bloke and he was held in very high regard for his knowledge of rock which was unsurpassed," said his agent Jon Roseman.

"I had known Tommy for 35 years. He certainly had one of the most recognisable voices on radio," he added.

Vance, who has two children, also presented the Friday Night Rock show on digital channel VH1 and more lately had his own show on digital radio station Virgin Classic Rock.

Top of the Pops

Last year he took part in ITV's Hell's Kitchen reality TV show but pulled out after only a few days, saying he could not bear the verbal abuse dished out by the show's celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Born in Oxford, Vance got his big break on Los Angeles radio station KHJ.

He then returned to the UK to work on pirate station Radio Caroline.

He was then signed to Radio 1 where he worked for 15 years. He was also a regular presenter of Top of the Pops.

Fellow DJ Dave Cash worked with Vance at Radio Caroline, Radio 1 and Capital Radio and was a friend of his for 40 years.

"Once you became friends with Tommy you were friends for life," Cash told BBC Radio Kent.

"He was a very private guy, but to his friends he was great, you could always rely on him.

"He's a bit like John Peel and Kenny Everett - he's irreplaceable, he was a total professional.

"Tommy was part of the group that actually cared about the music he was playing."

'Seminal rock show'

During his career Vance interviewed more than 10,000 guests including Prince Charles and the Rolling Stones.

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said: "Tommy Vance was a great broadcaster.

"He presented for many years on Radio 1 the seminal rock show which a whole generation of music fans remember very fondly.

"He will be sadly missed by listeners and fellow DJs alike."

Vance's distinctive voice also landed him voiceover jobs and he also worked as a continuity announcer for BBC Two.

His voice was instantly recognisable

Stars walk out of Hell's Kitchen
26 May 04 |  TV and Radio


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