Breakfast presenter Ali Brownlee has died just months after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.
The 56 year old died over the weekend surrounded by his family. BBC Tees informed listeners today on-air and via social media.
A post on Facebook reads: “We are so very sorry to tell you that our friend, presenter and Voice of the Boro Ali Brownlee has died aged 56. Ali was a Middlesbrough legend, a lovely man and he will be sorely missed by all his friends and colleagues at BBC Tees. Ali’s family ask you to respect their privacy at this difficult time.”
Since it was posted just a couple of hours ago, over a thousand tributes have been paid to the presenter, who was much loved by listeners and football fans.
BBC Tees presenter Lisa McCormick paid tribute: “Sometimes you build up a picture of what a person’s like by listening to them on the radio but it’s not quite who they are.
“In Ali’s case, that big bubbly character full of passion and enthusiasm for life is exactly who he was in real life.
“I’ll never forget how he greeted us each and every morning with his big booming voice ‘good morning, are you well?’
“Ali’s positivity was relentless, I’ll miss him terribly but I feel lucky to have known him, not only as a colleague but as a friend.”
Colleague Neil Green says “We are all heartbroken by today’s news. Away from the microphone, Ali was such a warm, generous and kind man who genuinely cared for his work colleagues.
“I will miss his energy, his voice and his smile that I arrived to work to every morning.
“Whatever the pressure, he was always upbeat and would always offer a solution of whatever was going on.
“The North East, Middlesbrough and BBC Tees is a darker place without him today.”
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright: “This is so sad. Lovely man who loved his football and loved our area. Gone far too young. Thoughts with his family.”
Comedian Bob Mortimer went to school with Ali, and also paid tribute via Twitter.
RIP Ali Brownlee.. I was at school with Ali and he was as lovely a lad then as he is now. Sad day
— bob mortimer (@RealBobMortimer) February 15, 2016