John Noakes
John Noakes with dog Shep on 'Blue Peter' BBC

John Noakes, a former presenter of BBC's Blue Peter, has died aged 83.

Noakes became a household name after he hosted the show in the 1960s and 70s and still remains the longest-serving presenter of the children's programme.

A family friend, Wendy Downes, confirmed to the Mail Online that Noakes died on Sunday (28 May).

"He had endured and suffered from Alzheimer's over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing," she said.

"His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many people's memories and that is how his family would like him remembered."

Two years prior to his death, fears grew for the safety of Noakes after he disappeared from his Majorca home.

He had disappeared at 9am local time and was discovered after 6pm wondering in a strawberry field, after a search was launched including helicopters and the Civil Guard.

It emerged that he spent the whole day without water in 35-degree heat and was found in a confused state, but recovered soon after being taken to Son Espases hospital.

At the time of his disappearance, his wife Vicky said: "John's had Alzheimer's for a number of years now. You learn to live and cope with things. But this is a little different this time and I am concerned because it is the hottest day of the year so far here."

Noakes and his wife settled in Majorca in 1984 after an attempt to sail around the world failed for the second time around because their boat was shipwrecked.