Ed Stewart who was a stalwart of the BBC has died in hospital in BournemouthLawson Speedway

Former Crackerjack presenter and Radio 1 DJ Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart has died at the age of 74 following complications from a stroke. He died in hospital in Bournemouth.

His friend of 40 years Rocky Taylor said that he had been told by Stewart's ex-wife Chiara Mainwaring of the show business personality's death. Celebrities and radio personalities were quick to pay tribute to Stewart.

Fellow radio legend Tony Blackburn took to Twitter and said: "So sorry to hear that Ed Stewart has passed away. We met in 1965 aboard the Pirate Ship Big L Radio London. He was a fine broadcaster."

BBC broadcaster Ken Bruce said: "Very sad news about Ed Stewart. One of the fun people in radio."

Stewart was one of the first presenters to take to the air for Radio 1 in 1967. In the 1970s he tried his hand at television when he became the presenter of kids' TV gameshow Crackerjack where contestants were given prizes such as the now infamous Crackerjack Pencil. The show paved the way for anarchic children's television such as Tiswas.

Stewart could be a somewhat controversial figure, as in his autobiography Out of the Stewpot, he candidly admitted that he had met his wife when she was aged just 13 and he was 34 years-old. In the book he describes turning up at his future wife's parent's house: "I arrived at 7pm and was greeted at the door by what I can only describe as a 13 year old apparition! She was simply stunning," he said. Stewart married Mainwaring when she was 17 and they were divorced in 2004 after 29 years of marriage.

He was also a regular Radio 2 presenter for 15 years, and had broadcast from the summits of Ben Nevis and Snowdon mountains and had broadcast live from the Falkland Islands. Bob Shennan, controller of Radio 2, said that Stewart had been a "stalwart of popular music broadcasting for many years" and that over the past few Christmases he had brought back his former show Junior Choice "to the delight of millions of loyal listeners".

"We are thinking of Ed's friends and family at this difficult time," he added. Stewart is survived by a son and a daughter.