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Racing pundit and broadcaster John McCririck has died at the age of 79.
The journalist, who worked on Channel 4 racing for decades, is survived by his wife Jenny.
McCririck's death was confirmed in a tweet by the Racing Post that said: "Sad to report that legendary racing broadcaster John McCririck has died at the age of 79
"McCririck was the face of Channel 4 Racing, and one of the sport's most recognisable figures. He was also an award-winning journalist for The Sporting Life."
Journalist and broadcaster John McCririck has died aged 79, his family has announced pic.twitter.com/RCRB4eeDBm- PA Racing (@PAracing) July 5, 2019
McCririck was a huge part of horse racing television in the UK for nearly 30 years until he was dropped by Channel 4 in 2012. He was known for his eccentric ways but was a massively well respected figure in sports journalism.
One of his close friends, Roger Easterby, said: "John was often referred to as being like Marmite, but I believe people genuinely liked him. He was kind, generous and knew his subject inside out."
He was born in Surbiton, South London, and attended Harrow School before leaving to work several jobs, eventually landing into the world of sports journalism in his 40s.
A representative for McCririck, Patsy Martin, said in a statement: "Award winning journalist, broadcaster and for many years the face of British horse racing, John McCririck, passed away at a London hospital on Friday 5th July aged 79.
"John's interest in horse racing and betting began at Harrow where he was the school bookie. On leaving he worked for an illegal street bookmaker then legally on-course where he learned the art of tic-tac, clerking bets and making a book."
They continued: "John cut his teeth in racing journalism on Formindex, a tipping sheet otherwise known as The Golden Guide. He went on to write for The Sporting Life where he won British Press Awards, 'Specialist Writer of the Year' and 'Campaigning Journalist of the Year'.
"John jointed ITV in 1981 for Shergar's Derby then became a household name as part of the Channel 4 Racing team when they took over coverage of the sport in 1984. His flamboyant broadcasting style from the heart of betting ring proved extremely popular with racing fans and beyond."
"John continued to work for Channel 4 Racing until 2013 as well as satellite channel At the Races. In this time he transcended the world of racing, appearing on numerous mainstream TV news and light entertainment programmes including Question Time, The Weakest Link, Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Big Brother in 2005 and 2010."
"Despite suffering ill health in recent months, John continued to make several TV and radio appearances. 'He is survived by Jenny, his wife of 48 years. His funeral will be private."
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