Horse racing broadcaster John McCririck has died aged 79, his family has announced.

John McCririck

“Sad to report that legendary racing broadcaster John McCririck has died at the age of 79,” a tweet shared by the Racing Post this morning read.

“McCririck was the face of Channel 4 Racing, and one of the sport’s most recognisable figures. He was also an award-winning journalist for The Sporting Life.”

The Surrey-born broadcaster, who presented the racing on Channel 4 for over 30 years, was well known for his bold dress sense and larger than life personality.

John McCririck and wife Jenny

In one of his final TV interviews, given last October, he opened up about his health battles.

“I’m getting better. I couldn’t speak for about three months. It really was awful,” he said.

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He added: “I’m recovering, but only slowly. I’m not well. I’m never going to fully recover because age has taken over.”

Appearing on This Morning, his three-stone weight loss also shocked viewers, with one writing on Twitter at the time: “It’s so sad when you see a usually strapping old man fade to virtually nothing! Wishing John well.”

In a separate interview, also given in October, the pundit tragically admitted he didn’t expect to see another summer.

He told the Daily Mail: “What purpose is there in going on if you’re not working?

“Racing was my life but now when I go I think: ‘What am I doing here?’ I feel like a dinosaur. You’re a lost soul wandering around an environment you’re no longer part of.”

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jenny.