Chris Needs dead at 68 – BBC Radio Wales presenter dies after brief illness

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BBC legend Chris Needs has died aged 68 after a brief illness.

The Welsh radio presenter died of a heart condition on Sunday.

Needs, who began hosting The Friendly Garden Programme in 2002, was best known for his cheerful delivery.

Friends and colleagues have today paid tribute to an “amazing character”.

A statement released by BBC Radio Wales said: “It is with enormous sadness and regret that we confirm the death of Chris Needs MBE following a short period of ill health.

“Through his Friendly Garden, Chris brought pleasure and comfort to thousands of listeners, from all over the world, who treated him like a true friend.

“The thoughts of everyone at BBC Radio Wales are with Chris’s husband Gabe, his family and his many friends at this time.”

Chris hosted nightly shows on BBC Radio Wales for 18 years.

Colin Paterson, editor at the station, said: “Chris was an amazing character – a one off and an all-round entertainer.

“A giant of Welsh radio, he spent years with the commercial sector before moving to the BBC, where he broadcast in both Welsh and English, on television and radio.

“His contribution to Radio Wales can’t be underestimated, not least in recent months when he has provided comfort and companionship to our listeners.

“And for almost 20 years, the Friendly Garden has brought people together from across Wales and the world, from every walk of life.

“The ability to bring people together was one of his many strengths, and I know the Garden team, along with all of us at Radio Wales will miss him.”

Broadcaster Kev Johns MBE said that Welsh radio has lost a “unique talent”.

He said: “Welsh radio has lost a unique talent, life has lost a kind man.

“Love and prayers to Gabe.”

Presenters Nathan Wyburn and Wayne Courtney for Radio Cardiff said: “RIP Chris Needs.

“The radio airwaves, and Wales, have lost a legend.”

Chris was awarded the MBE in 2005, meeting the Queen during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

He also held a radio ‘Oscar’ – a Sony Silver Award for best regional presenter, awarded in 1996.

In 2006, he told Wales on Sunday he had suffered with depression after the death of his mother five years earlier – and credited his husband with saving his life.

“I’ve always said that, had it not been for Gabe, I’d be in the ground too by now,” he said.

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