Zetland FM breakfast show presenter Julie Donaldson has died, following more than three weeks in intensive care with coronavirus.
She had been at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough since the start of October after contracting the virus but her condition deteriorated in recent days.
Her husband John, who she married earlier this year, said in a post shared on the radio station’s Facebook page: “I am devastated to have to write that Julie died this morning shortly after 5am. She was admitted to hospital earlier this month and put up an incredibly brave fight to combat this terrible disease. In the end her heart simply could not cope with the strain which her deteriorating lungs were placing on it. The doctors and nurses in ICU were exceptional and were all so supportive and went the extra mile to comfort her when she most needed it. I would also like to thank all her friends on Facebook for your kind words and encouragement, I know this has helped her enormously.”
As well as getting married, Julie had her 50th birthday in June this year.
Julie had a spell at hospital radio before joining Sunderland’s Wear FM in the early 1990s. She went on to present various shows at BBC Tees and then was part of the team that launched Zetland FM in Redcar in 2015. She also previously taught media students at the University of Sunderland.
She was named Best Female Presenter at the Community Radio Awards in 2018 and went on to be shortlisted in the Best Local Radio Show category at the ARIAs. Her ‘Morning Mix’ show picked up the Best Community Radio Programme prize at the 2019 Community Radio Awards, which Julie co-hosted on stage in Barry, South Wales.
A spokesperson for Zetland FM said: “Everyone at Zetland FM is heartbroken at this news, Julie was an exceptional radio presenter, a hugely valued colleague and a friend to us all at Zetland FM. We also know she was much loved by our listeners and across the community in Redcar and Cleveland.
“Julie was a wonderful woman who was an inspiration to everyone she met. She was passionate about supporting the local community in Redcar and Cleveland and worked tirelessly to promote local groups, charities and organisations. We will miss her terribly and we send our heartfelt condolences to her husband John, and her family and friends. Zetland FM will pay tribute to Julie in a special programme on Monday morning from 8am. Julie – thanks for everything, you will always be part of Zetland FM, and we will remember you forever ❤️.”
Since March Julie had been presenting her daily shows from home, and spoke to the RadioToday Programme podcast in April.
We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend @juliedonaldson. She always put our officers at ease on her radio show & had a wonderful way of getting to know the real person behind the uniform. We loved working with Julie & she will be missed. Thoughts are with her family pic.twitter.com/vMDltll1J2
— Cleveland Police (@ClevelandPolice) October 31, 2020
Today's show is dedicated to @juliedonaldson ; my goodness, I'll miss you. A champion of local radio, passionate about life, an amazingly funny lady, and one of life's good eggs. My love with Julie's husband & family, and all who are mourning her loss right now. Devastating.💔
— Alex B Cann (@alexbcann) October 31, 2020
It’s heartbreaking to hear that the beautiful @juliedonaldson, has sadly passed away after a short battle with Covid-19.
— Jacob Young MP (@JacobYoungMP) October 31, 2020
Absolutely devastated to learn that my friend, former co-worker and utterly wonderful radio star @juliedonaldson has died after a lengthy few weeks in hospital with Covid. I just can’t believe she’s gone. The whole of the radio community is in shock. 💔
— Jen Bartram (@JenBartram) October 31, 2020