Mike Smith
Comedian Julian Clary (L) with Radio DJ Mike Smith (R) who died aged 59.AFP / Getty Images

Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith has died at the age of 59.

The radio broadcaster had suffered complications following a recent major heart surgery. He died in hospital.

He was married to Blue Peter presenter Sarah Greene for 25 years.

Releasing a statement through Smith's aerial filming company Flying TV, Ms Greene said she would "like to offer enormous thanks to the staff at the hospital for their care and compassion".

She asked that she, her family and friends be allowed to mourn Smith's passing in peace.

The popular radio DJ from Essex began his career at hospital radio before joining BBC Radio 1 in 1975. He was a presenter on Top of the Pops and hosted the BBC's coverage of Live Aid.

In 1983, he took over the weekday lunchtime show and was named by Diana, Princess of Wales, as her favourite DJ.

In 1986 he was chosen to host the Breakfast Show, taking over from Mike Reid.

Describing him as "an affable guy" Reid paid tribute to his former colleague and friend.

"The news is just devastating," he said. "Sarah and Mike were a wonderful couple - it is truly horrible to hear. He became a mainstay of Radio 1, was highly successful on television too, and started up his own business which he was very good at.

"Mike was a very affable guy, fantastically business-like. It's a real loss and has come as quite a shock."

Smith's Radio 1 successor Simon Mayo offered his condolences on Twitter writing: "Shocked to hear of Mike Smith's death today. Condolences to Sarah and all his family. When we joined Radio 1 in 86, he was the guy who had it all. His breakfast show was a shiny, sparkly thing, a must-listen," he added.

Noel Edmonds, who worked with Smith on the Late, Late Breakfast Show said in a statement: "I am totally stunned and heartbroken for Sarah and his family. He was so much more than simply a presenter. Mike was that rare individual - the consummate broadcaster in an era when professionalism, dedication and hard work were truly valued. I am typing this through the tears. I wish I had told him more forcefully and frequently how much I admired his talent and valued his support."

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are saddened to hear of Mike's passing. He was a talented presenter and a brilliant Radio 1 Breakfast Show host, and our thoughts are with his family."

Smith retired from radio following a helicopter crash in 1988 in which both he and his then-girlfriend Ms Greene were injured.

The DJ was piloting the helicopter when he crashed into trees. Ms Greene broke both legs and an arm, and Smith suffered a broken back and ankle. He proposed to her weeks later and they were married the following year. The couple who lived in London, had no children.

While he rarely appeared on radio or TV after the accident, Smith continued working with his company, which supplies aerial shots for UK broadcasters.

In a documentary about BBC radio broadcasters, reflecting on his career, he said: "I miss radio tremendously, TV not so much. Radio has a contact with the audience in a very special way. It's a privilege to be allowed into people's lives."