English TV Presenter and broadcaster Keith Chegwin passed away on Monday after a ‘long term battle with a progressive lung condition’.
Popularly known as ‘Cheggers’, Chegwin had been having lung issues for a while, but ‘his condition had rapidly worsened towards the end of this year,’ his family said in a public statement.
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Keith Chegwin sadly passed away following a long-term battle with a progressive lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which rapidly worsened towards the end of this year,” the statement read, “Keith died peacefully at home shortly after midnight on the 11th of December. His wife Maria, his daughter Rose and his son Ted were by his side.”
Born in Liverpool, Chegwin had a career spanning five decades. He started out as a child actor, performing roles in movies such as Roman Polanski’s Macbeth and TV shows like The Liver Birds. Before moving on to presenting in the 1970s, Chegwin had a versatile oeuvre of work in films, theatre, ads, radio, and singing. He then became a household name presenting on popular shows like Multi-Colored Swap Shop and Cheggers Plays Pop. Although his battle with alcoholism caused his popularity to decline in the mid 70s and 80s, it caught speed again in 1993 after he presented the ‘Down Your Doorstep’ segment on the show, The Big Breakfast.
Chegwin was famous for his ‘off-the-cuff- style while presenting: he often claimed that no one had ever written a word for him. His ad-libbing skills made him a favorite and a staple on reality shows. In 1999, he presented a reboot of It’s A Knockout, a reboot of the 1970s gameshow. In 2001, he presented widely criticized naked reality show, Naked Jungle, a move he later called the ‘worst’ of his career. Throughout the 2000s, he worked for GMTV, also making appearances in Ricky Gervais’ show, Extras, in 2006. In recent years, he made appearances on Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Masterchef, and Pointless Celebrities. For his extensive work in reality TV, Chegwin was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Reality TV Awards.
Chegwin’s ex-wife, Maggie Philbin, whom he met on Swap Shop, shared her grief in a statement on her website: “Keith was loved by everyone who knew and worked with him. I first met him when we did a film about windsurfing when I joined Swap Shop in 1978 and was immediately struck by his fun, energy and kindness.”
It is incredibly sad. Keith was a one-off – full of life, generous and with a focus on things that mattered – his family. I saw him two months ago at his sister Janice’s wedding, where he was still attempting to be life and soul of the party despite being on portable oxygen and made sure he knew how much he meant to us all,” she added.
Chegwin is survived by his wife Maria and two children.
Celebrities all across the country paid tributes and shared their memories of Chegwin on social media.
I’m absolutely devastated to hear that my friend Keith Chegwin has died.He was one of the nicest people I have ever known and over the years we did shows together and became great friends. Keith RIP.
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) December 11, 2017
No. I can’t bear the news. Not him. I was blessed to work with Keith Chegwin on the big breakfast and he was a happy and joyous man. So generous and kind. Bye bye cheggers So so sad #ripkeithchegwin #ripcheggars my love to his family.
— Gaby Roslin (@GabyRoslin) December 11, 2017
Such sad news. Very much a part of my childhood. RIP Keith Chegwin. pic.twitter.com/IFL7TujE9b
— Paddy McGuinness (@PaddyMcGuinness) December 11, 2017
Author: Lavanya Singh
Subbed By: Betina Gluhova