13:06 18 March 2010
BBC DJ Charlie Gillett has died aged 68.
The Radio 3 and World Service presenter had been battling an autoimmune disease and last week suffered a heart attack.
In a statement, Gillett's family confirmed he had passed away on Wednesday (March 17) in a London hospital.
Often considered a champion of world music, the Lancashire-born broadcaster Gillett is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing 'Sultans of Swing' from their demo tape on his Radio London show 'Honky Tonk'.
He also managed Ian Dury in the mid 1970's, while he was in his first band, Kilburn and the High Roads, as well as writing an acclaimed history of rock 'n' roll, 'The Sound of the City', in the 1970s.
Gillett's friend and fellow DJ, Mark Lamarr, paid tribute to the "considered and passionate gentlemen" and "great broadcaster".
Speaking of his departed friend, Lamarr said:"He championed so many great bands.
"I've spoken to him at great length about so many different musical styles and he will always pinpoint the exact great moment that you should know about.
"When I first met him, it was like meeting the rock'n'roll equivalent of Dickens or Shakespeare.
"Before that he'd written the definitive book on the rise of popular music in the 20th Century," Lamarr added.
He is survived by his wife Buffy, their daughters Suzy and Jody, their son Ivan, and two grandchildren.
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