Award-winning BBC television and radio presenter Dianne Oxberry has died from cancer aged 51, her family has confirmed.
She died at the Christie hospital in Manchester on Thursday morning.
Oxberry became well-known nationally on Radio 1, working alongside Simon Mayo and Steve Wright.
After studying meteorology she became the North West’s weather presenter in 1994 and also fronted the Inside Out North West current affairs programme.
Fellow BBC North West Tonight presenters Roger Johnson and Annabel Tiffin said they were heartbroken and it was hard to imagine the programme without her.
After her time at Radio 1 in London, Sunderland-born Oxberry returned north to Greater Manchester in 1993 with her husband, cameraman Ian Hindle.
The couple, who have two young children, met in Manchester while she was co-presenting the Saturday morning children’s television show, The 8:15 From Manchester.
Mr Hindle said: “Dianne was an amazing wife and mother who embraced life to the full.
“She was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her but also to the people who watched and welcomed her into their homes each night as if she were part of their family too.
“She will leave a massive void in our lives but because of the remarkable person she was she will forever live on in our hearts.
“The children and I will miss her more than anyone can imagine.”
Oxberry recently took part in a 100-mile relay walk for Children In Need with colleagues Annabel Tiffin and Roger Johnson.
Johnson said: “We are heartbroken by Dianne’s death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It’s hard to imagine the programme without her.
“Our thoughts are with Ian and all of Dianne’s family. We hope they will find some comfort in the knowledge so many people loved Dianne and will miss her terribly.”
Tiffin added: “This is an enormous shock for all of us. I can scarcely believe Dianne has died. She was loved by our viewers, by all of us at North West Tonight. My heart breaks for her family.
“Di was so talented, so beautiful, so funny and so full of life. On screen she was a star, radiating warmth and good humour. Off screen, she was a wonderful colleague, a loyal friend and I will miss her terribly.”
Aziz Rashid, head of BBC North West, said: “We are all devastated by this dreadful news. The coming days will be difficult but we will do our best to pay tribute to someone who meant so much to us all and made such an enormous contribution to broadcasting in the North West.”
Manchester poet Lemn Sissay tweeted a poem about her as tributes poured in from listeners and viewers on social media.
Professor Brian Cox, from Oldham, also paid tribute, saying: “Very sad to hear that Dianne Oxberry has died. Anyone who has lived in the North West over the last 20 years or so will know what a superb broadcaster she was.”
Sasha Foley also tweeted: “Shocking news…lovely lady that brightened up the screen no matter what the weather…sad news indeed!”
Kevin Shepherd also paid tribute on social media: “Saddened to hear that Dianne Oxberry has passed away. She was so professional and always had a smile on her face when doing the weather in our local area. Sincere condolences to her family and friends.”
‘She made the sun shine’
In an emotional interview on BBC Radio Manchester, Roger Johnson quoted comedian Peter Kay who invaded one of her weather forecasts by hugging her and telling her: “God love Dianne Oxberry – you made the sun shine for everybody!”
Johnson said: “For me, those words are Dianne’s epitaph: ‘God Love Dianne Oxberry – she made the sun shine for everybody.'”
“She was a really bright star but she never took herself too seriously. She could always laugh at herself. She wasn’t a diva. She was down to earth…she was just lovely,” he added.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham tweeted: “What a terrible shock and what a loss to the North West. My sincere condolences to all the team and, of course, to Dianne’s family.”
Her former Radio 1 colleague Simon Mayo tweeted: “Devastated to hear this news. She was a wonderful, joyous part of our breakfast team at Radio 1. I loved working with her. My condolences to her family.”
BBC football pundit, Mark Lawrenson, also tweeted his reaction: “Just woken to the terribly sad news of the passing of Dianne Oxberry…I’m stunned.
“She was the mainstay in presenting the weather on North West Tonight and will be sorely missed. I’ve worked with Ian Hindle, her husband on many occasions and my thoughts are with him and the kids…RIP.”
Oxberry also worked as a reporter for BBC Sport, covering the Great North Run and the Manchester 10k.
In 2002 she was asked to present BBC Radio Manchester’s lunchtime show. She then co-hosted the station’s flagship breakfast show with Eamonn O’Neal between 2006 and 2008.
Apart from family and work, she loved spending time with animals, in particular her beloved horses.
She described herself on Twitter as a “full-time pet-collector”.
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