Virgin Radio pays tribute to presenter Pete Mitchell on Friday afternoon following news of his sudden death.
The station told listeners in its 1 p.m. newscast that Pete died suddenly Thursday night.
A statement from family friend Jo Houlcroft said: “It is with incredible sadness that I must announce the sad passing of Virgin Radio presenter Pete Mitchell, who passed away very suddenly on Thursday March 12 at the age of 61 years old. Pete collapsed while walking near his home in Stockport, the cause of his death is still unknown but he was not believed to be showing any signs of illness. Pete was a seasoned entertainer, whose career at the radio lasted thirty-four years. He was knowledgeable and passionate about music of all genres, discovering and supporting many bands and was an integral part of the Manchester music scene. His wife Helen and two adult sons Adam and Sean are devastated by their loss. Her family have asked for her privacy at this very difficult time. “
Pete was born in Manchester and started his radio career at Red Rose Radio, then Piccadilly Radio. He then worked for several stations, including BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, XFM and Absolute Radio.
He was well known for his association with Geoff Lloyd, hosting The Pete and Geoff on Key 103 in the 90s. They went to Virgin Radio (now Absolute) in 1999 to host the evening show, but switched to quickly made it to breakfast, which ended in 2005.
Pete then joined BBC Radio 2 to host a number of shows and documentaries.
After that, Pete joined XFM for the Manchester Breakfast and more recently returned to Absolute Radio with programming on a number of stations for decades. In 2018, he returned to the Virgin Radio brand with some musical documentaries.
Most recently, he hosted a monthly documentary series Revolutions in Music on Virgin.
He was known as the first DJ to play Oasis on radio and appeared in a number of TV shows communicating his passion for music, and also led various high profile appearances as a club DJ.
Former co-presenter Geoff Lloyd tweeted a photo of him and Pete of their Virgin Radio breakfast days, with the words, “Beyond the Devastation. I am overwhelmed by the memories of the years we worked together on radio, and many more of our friendship. Pete was the kindest, most loyal friend. He will be missed by so many people, especially Helen and her boys – of whom he was always proud. “
Beyond devastated. I am overwhelmed by the memories of the years we worked together on radio, and many more of our friendship. Pete was the kindest, most loyal friend. He will be missed by so many people, especially Helen and her boys – of whom he was always proud pic.twitter.com/ViYLWZMxlg
– Geoff Lloyd (@GeoffLloyd) March 13, 2020
Mike Cass, Content Director of Virgin Radio UK, told RadioToday: “It’s incredibly hard to think of Pete in the past tense. He was a great talent on radio, a talented interviewer, a real part of the Virgin Radio spirit and a wonderful man.
A tribute from everyone at Absolute Radio reads: “Pete was an incredibly talented host, a much respected colleague and a much loved friend. He was an integral part of the One Golden Square family and his passion for music always shone in every program he presented and produced. We send our love and thoughts to his family.
BBC Radio 2 tweeted: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of highly respected music radio presenter Pete Mitchell, who has worked on both BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. Our hearts go out today to Pete’s friends and family.
Extremely saddened by the passing of Pete Mitchell. A huge contributor over the years to this country’s music radio, but most of all a simply lovely, kind and gentle human being.
I loved working with him. My thoughts are with his family and my friend @GeoffLloyd too much. #RIPPetemitchell
– Russ Williams 📻⚽️🎙 (@ Russw777) March 13, 2020
So sad to hear the news of Pete Mitchell’s passing today. Pete was a wonderful DJ and a lovely man and a champion of many Manchester bands. He gave us some of our early plays and radio sessions and we will always remember him with love and great affection. RIP x pic.twitter.com/32imLefuki
– Space monkeys (@spacemonkeys) March 13, 2020
Ahhhh that’s sad. Pete and Geoff let me do some work experience with them at the time. Their show was class together, and they couldn’t have been more encouraging. RIP Pete x
– Chris Stark (@Chris_Stark) March 13, 2020
Absolutely overwhelming to learn of Pete Mitchell’s sad death
A gentle man, a wicked sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge and absolute love for music
An honor to fill your huge boots at XFM Manchester. And to work alongside you at @VirginRadioUK
A Mancunian legend. pic.twitter.com/Wd47CcNfuf
– Tim Cocker (@cocker) March 13, 2020
I met Pete once at Key 103. He was on the air at the time (with Geoff) and put up with me watching him work.
Eternally grateful for your patience Pete.
– Damien Saint-Jean (@damienstjohn) March 13, 2020
We are saddened to learn of the passing of highly respected music radio presenter Pete Mitchell, who has worked on both BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music.
Our hearts go out today to Pete’s friends and family. pic.twitter.com/QNBVegZmA6
– BBC Radio 2 (@ BBCRadio2) March 13, 2020
My heart is broken by this news. Pete was a fantastic DJ and we were working on soul podcasts together
– Richard Searling BEM (@RichardSearling) March 13, 2020
– Simon jagger (@radiojagger) March 13, 2020
Shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pete Mitchell.
Our time together at Key 103 was something that I always remember as being happy and a lot of fun.
Thoughts and much love to Pete’s family x #RIPPeteMitchell
– Steve Penk (@StevePenk) March 13, 2020
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved friend and colleague, Pete Mitchell.https://t.co/VUDQYZTcaQ
– Virgin Radio UK (@VirginRadioUK) March 13, 2020
I just heard the news of Pete Mitchell’s passing.
RIP Mister Music Man.
– Ivor Anthony (@ ivoranthony2) March 13, 2020
Sad news – Legendary #Manchester Broadcaster Pete Mitchell has passed away at the age of 61.
He has featured on a number of radio stations including Piccadilly / Key 103
– Hits Manchester News (@hitsmcrnews) March 13, 2020
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