UK & World News

  • 22 December 2013, 3:58

David Coleman: Veteran Sports Broadcaster Dies

David Coleman, the veteran sports commentator and long-time A Question Of Sport presenter, has died at the age of 87.

The Grandstand and Sportsnightpresenter, who retired in 2000, died peacefully with his family at his bedside after a short illness.

The BBC's director general Tony Hall said: "David Coleman was one of this country's greatest and most respected broadcasters.

"Generations grew up listening to his distinctive and knowledgeable commentary. Whether presenting, commentating or offering analysis, he set the standard for all of today's sports broadcasters."

The renowned athletics commentator worked for the corporation for almost 50 years, covering 11 summer Olympic Games, his final one in Sydney in 2000.

He also covered six football World Cups and was the host of the Question Of Sport for 18 years. He was awarded an OBE in 1992.

Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear David Coleman has died - the voice of BBC Sport for as long as I can remember."

Sky News Sports Editor Nick Powell described Mr Coleman as a "giant" of sports broadcasting.

He said: "A lot of sports broadcasting has been shaped by what David Coleman did all those years ago."

Olympic athlete Linford Christie said: "My deepest condolences go out to David's family at this sad time.

"David was a no nonsense, straight-talking true gentleman and an iconic voice of sport, but at the heart of it all was a massive sports fan and supporter of good performances."

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett described him as "a thoroughly decent guy", having been quizzed by Mr Coleman 45 years ago on BBC1's Feedback show.

"David Coleman had to deal with a man who couldn't see talking about a film which David Dimbleby had produced and which had caused enormous controversy by displaying dead and naked bodies.

"Why I ever wrote in I shall never know, but it was certainly a way of being blooded in terms of future interviews over the past 45 years.

"I know that as well as his family and friends, many of us will mourn him as someone who represented the best in broadcasting and of decency in public life."

Former England striker Gary Lineker was among those remembering Mr Coleman - whose brevity at the microphone, including his signature "one-nil" catchphrase, earned him many fans.

He wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear, David Coleman has died. A giant of sports broadcasting. Brilliant, gifted, precise and concise. Much more than 'one-nil' #RIP"

The father-of-six, who lived in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, was awarded the Olympic Order in 2000. The award is the highest honour of the Olympic movement.

Mr Coleman also found himself the subject of a regular column in satirical magazine Private Eye, with its Colemanballs feature documenting commentators' gaffes to this day.

One of his comments the magazine immortalised was: "That's the fastest time ever run, but it's not as fast as the world record."

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