Tributes have been paid to Frank Bough following the former Shropshire TV presenter’s death aged 87.
A family friend told the BBC that Bough, who grew up in Oswestry, died on Wednesday in a care home.
He was one of the best-known TV hosts in the 1970s and 1980s and was part of the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast TV show in 1983.
As a former Oxford soccer Blue, he anchored six World Cups, six Olympics and at least a dozen Five Nations championships for the BBC.
Bough also worked for other major networks including Sky, ITV and London Weekend Television.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent, his family moved to Oswestry while he was a boy of six - and would often return to the town to visit his mother, Annie.
His father had a furniture business that he helped with as a boy.
A pupil at the Oswestry Boys High School, he excelled at sport and drama, played hockey for Shropshire and went on to become the Head Boy. He is said to have held the long jump record at the school in Holbache Road.
He also returned for charity events and speaking engagements and opened the Gateacre playing fields in the town.
He was married to Nesta.
Bough’s career with the BBC ended in 1988 when he was sacked after reports that he had taken cocaine and visited brothels.
He was involved in further scandal in 1992 when he was photographed leaving a sadomasochistic sex worker’s flat.
The presenter said in an interview with Sky in the same year that he had been “exceedingly stupid”.
“I caused a lot of pain to my wife and my family and I bitterly regret all these things, but I have to say that I believe that everybody, when they have difficulties with their marriage or sexuality, surely has the right to sort these things out in the privacy of their own home,” he added.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “Frank excelled as a live presenter with the BBC for many years and we are very sorry to hear of his passing.
“We send our condolences to his family and friends.”
Tributes to Bough were posted online by fellow BBC journalists, politicians and other broadcasters.
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Frank Bough, Star of Grandstand, Nationwide and Breakfast Time.
“His career was ruined by scandal, but he was one of the great live TV presenters. Sad news.”
Astrologer Russell Grant, who helped launch BBC Breakfast Time with Bough in 1983, said: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of an old television friend.
“Frank Bough was a great man to work with. We launched #BBCBreakfastTime in January 1983. Always there for advice and support.
“‘They’ said we wouldn’t get on but we absolutely did – chalk n cheese! See you, Frank.”
Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling said Bough was “one of the very best in the business” and had always been “helpful and generous with his time”.
Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, said her father Clifford “spoke highly” of him when reminiscing about time served together in the Tank Regiment during conscription.
Former F1 world champion Damon Hill said simply “RIP Frank indeed.”
Former Labour MP George Galloway called Bough “peerless” as a presenter, adding: “The BBC have no one like him now.”