Sports broadcaster John McCririck has died aged 79, his family has announced.
McCririck – known as 'Big Mac' to many in the racing world – was a familiar face on Channel 4's coverage of the sport for many years, with his career on television spanning four decades.
In a statement his family confirmed John died today in hospital after a period of ill health.
His death was first reported on Racing Post who tweeted: "Sad to report that legendary racing broadcaster John McCririck has died at the age of 79."
Last year John made a chilling prediction about his own health, revealing he believes he had just months to live following his extreme weight loss.
The ex racing pundit was the face of Channel 4 racing but was dropped in 2012 after 28 years at the helm.
Roger Easterby, a close friend of McCririck for more than 40 years, told the Racing Post: "John was often referred to as being like Marmite, but I believe people genuinely liked him. He was kind, generous and knew his subject inside out."
John, who in the 1970s won two coveted awards for investigative journalism during his time with The Sporting Life, was easily the most recognisable face in racing of an era.
He tried to take Channel 4 to an employment tribunal for age discrimination, which ruled against him, but John said the stress of his departure has left his life without meaning.
"Life is empty. I don't expect to be alive this time next year. It's a question of slipping away," he told the Daily Mail.
"'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 added.
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