The BBC has been forced to issue an embarrassing retracting after prematurely announcing the death of a DJ Brian Matthew.

The corporation released a statement informing fans that the 88-year-old veteran presenter, best known for long-running Sounds of the 60s programme, had passed away on Tuesday night (5 April). It was later revealed that, although he was in critical condition in hospital, he is still very much alive.

News of his apparent passing had prompted an outpouring on social media with disc jockey Tony Blackburn leading the tributes.

"Brian was a broadcasting legend and his years on Sounds Of The Sixties were amazing. My thoughts are with his family. Brian R.I.P." he tweeted,

Brian Matthew's Wikipedia page was also updated to reflect his 'death'.

"We were informed by close family and friends that Brian had passed away in the night. They have since been in contact to say that he remains critically ill," a Radio 2 spokesperson explained. "We will update with more information when we have it. Our thoughts remain with his family at this very difficult time."

Matthew stepped down as host of the show in January amid concerns about his health following a fall. Although BBC described the move as "mutual" decision, fans were not impressed. Matthew added fuel to the fire when he slammed the suggestion that he was too ill to present the programme as "absolute balderdash".

"I was ready and willing and able to go back, and they've just said they are going to put the programme in the hands of other people," he said. "I enjoyed doing the show very much indeed. I did it for 25 years. I feel very disconcerted, I must say. I do admit I'm a bit of an antique, but that's never seemed to matter until now."

Matthew, who just the Beeb back in 1954 and was one of the first voices to be heard on BBC Radio 1, was due to record a farewell edition of the compilation show over Easter.