TRIBUTES have been paid to the broadcaster Terry Wogan, who died yesterday at the age of 77.

In a short statement, his family said: “Sir Terry Wogan died today after a short but brave battle with cancer.

“He passed away surrounded by his family. While we understand he will be missed by many, the family ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”

In a career spanning six decades Limerick-born Wogan was responsible for some of some of the most memorable moments in the history of British TV. He went from news reading on RTE in Ireland in the 1960s to becoming the staple of the BBC’s primetime schedule in the 1980s.

As a commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest for 35 years his dry, deadpan, and sometime acerbic narration, fuelled by the odd glass of Baileys and a fair amount of affection, set the tone for how the UK treats the competition.

“All I’ve gained by watching the Eurovision Song Contest over the years is a numbing of the pre-frontal lobes,” he once said.

The first thing his successor, Graham Norton, said when taking over hosting duties, was: “I know, I miss Terry too.”

His role in Children in Need was more than that of mere host. He as much as Pudsey the Bear was the face of the charity that since 1980 has raised more than £600 million. Last year was the first in the history of the appeal that Sir Terry missed, when he had to pull out at the last minute for a procedure on his back.

But for millions Wogan will be most remembered as the soundtrack to their early morning, as his breakfast show on Radio 2 was the most listened to in the country.

The tight-knit community he created with his listeners, Terry’s Old Geezers, made it a very comfortable place to be. Indeed it was a show built on the contributions of those who listened in with Sir Terry the conductor, occasionally cracking up as he read the latest Janet and John story.

It was on that show that the broadcaster helped bring the A39 Cockbridge to Tomintoul road and local postmistress Mrs MacKay to fame. In 1999, after he criticised the council for never being prepared for the snow, locals wrote in to say it was not the local authority that cleared the snow, but rather Mrs MacKay, the silver-haired postmistress and her silver-handled shovel. She was doing the best she could, they insisted.

For the next decade listeners would phone in with sightings of the near mythical Mrs MacKay shovelling snow. Sometimes, they said, she would be out shovelling snow as early as June.

Wogan did almost cause an international incident in 2005, when his radio show visited Aberdeen for the week and he called local delicacy, the rowie disgusting. Few things anger an Aberdonian more than someone under-appreciating a buttery. The next day he apologised on air: “I’m sorry if any offence was taken when I described the rowie as tasting like a mouthful of the North Sea. They’re just bits of bread made with lard and some seaweed.”

BBC’s Director-General Sir Tony Hall led the tributes yesterday. “Terry Wogan was simply a wonderful man – courteous, courageous and delightfully mischievous,” he said. “People watching and listening adored him. He’s been part of our family for decades and we’ll miss him greatly.”

Yesterday fans on social media shared clips from his final speech on his last Radio 2 show, broadcast in 2009.

“The years together with you have not only been a pleasure but a privilege,” he said. “You have allowed me to share your lives with you. When you tell me how important I have been in your lives it’s very moving. You have been every bit as important in mine.”