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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
BBC Radio 3 and World Service DJ Charlie Gillett dies
Gillett turned down an offer to present BBC Two's The Old Grey Whistle Test
BBC Radio 3 and World Service presenter Charlie Gillett has died after a long illness, aged 68.
Known as a champion of world music, the Lancashire-born broadcaster passed away in a London hospital on Wednesday, his family has confirmed.
He contracted an autoimmune disease, and last week suffered a heart attack.
Gillett is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing Sultans of Swing from their demo tape on his Radio London show Honky Tonk.
He also wrote an acclaimed history of rock'n'roll, The Sound of the City, in the 1970s.
World Service director Peter Horrocks said he was an inspiration whose spirit of adventure and passion for the rich diversity of global music opened the ears of the world.
"His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far flung corners of the globe," he said.
"His postbag was one of the biggest, most affectionate and diverse in Bush House, which confirmed his special place in listener's lives. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed."
Gillett stood down from his regular slot on Radio 3's World on 3 for health reasons two months ago, with fellow presenters Lopa Kothari and Mary Ann Kennedy covering.
Gillett was part of a panel who first coined the term "world music"