Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 January 2020

Tributes pour in for eccentric racing personality John McCririck

The horse racing expert and broadcaster died Friday aged 79

John McCririck died on Friday in a London hospital. EPA
John McCririck died on Friday in a London hospital. EPA

Legendary horse racing pundit John McCririck has died, his family announced Friday.

A statement released by his family said: "Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and for many years the face of British horse racing, John McCririck, passed away at a London hospital on Friday, July 5 aged 79."

The British television presenter fronted much of Channel 4's coverage of horse racing until 2013, entertaining audiences with his outlandish dress sense and opinionated stance on horse racing issues.

McCririck is survived his wife of 48 years, Jenny.

The statement released by his family said McCririck "transcended the world of racing".

McCririck's colleagues paid tribute to a man who has become synonymous with the sport.

"I loved him dearly - I worked with one of my heroes and I was so lucky," his former co-presenter Tanya Stevenson told the Press Association.

"I worked with him for 15 years and the majority of that time was on air alongside him. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been able to do that. He was the one who encouraged me the whole time with his support."

Jockey Frankie Dettori also took time to share memories of the "larger than life character" he worked with.

"He was very flamboyant and controversial, but I always got on really well with him. We did a few things together and he will be missed."

As the news broke fans also paid tribute to the eccentric broadcaster - nicknamed Big Mac - setting the hashtag #RIPBigMac trending in the UK on Twitter.

Mr McCririck's family have stated his funeral will be a private affair.

Updated: July 5, 2019 09:11 PM