FORMER BBC and ITN newsreader Peter Sissons has died aged 77, his agent has said.
The newsreader was one of the best known faces on British TV after a career of almost 40 years in journalism including 16 with the BBC.
A statement from Knight Ayton management released today said: “We are sad to announce that Peter Sissons, the former presenter on ITN, Channel 4 and the BBC, died peacefully last night in Maidstone Hospital, Kent.
“His wife and three children were with him and wish to pass on their thanks to the hospital staff who were so caring and fought gallantly to save him to the end.”
The journalist had first begun his career in 1964, working as a writer with ITN before becoming a news reporter.
Sisson then went on to become a foreign correspondent in Biafra, where he was wounded by gunfire in 1968.
After his recovery, he became ITN’s Industrial Editor.
By 1978, he was presenting ITN’s News At One. before going on to become a presenter of BBC’s Question Time from 1989 to 1993.
He moved to the Nine O’Clock News in 1994 and stayed with the programme until it moved to its new time of 10pm.
He was most well-known for breaking the news of the Queen Mother’s death in 2002.
But while he was praised for leading the BBC’s coverage, he also faced criticism for wearing a burgundy tie instead of a black one when making the announcement.
He retired from broadcasting in 2009 and was considered at the time to be one of the UK’s longest-serving news presenters.
The newsreader was named by the Broadcasting Press Guild as the Best Front of Camera Performer in 1984, also winning three consecutive BAFTA awards.
Sissons was also awarded the Royal Television Society’s Judges Award in 1988.
‘AN EXCELLENT JOURNALIST’
Tributes immediately flowed in for the presenter after news of his death, with BBC newsreader Simon McCoy saying: “Very sorry to hear of the death of former colleague Peter Sissons. A great journalist and a fine presenter at ITN and the BBC.”
GMB host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Peter Sissons, 77. An excellent journalist & TV newsreader, and splendidly combative & amusing man.”
Lord Tim Bowes-Lyon added: “Such sad news. I’ve known of Peter all my life. A great #broadcaster. My thoughts are with his family. He’s at peace now.”
ITN consumer editor Chris Choi also wrote : “Great sadness here at ITN at the death of Peter Sissons who worked here from 1964, he was Industrial Editor in the 1970s and then presenter of News at One”.
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The married dad-of-three had lived in Sevenoaks, Kent.
He was born in Liverpool in 1942, studying at the Liverpool Institute High School before reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford.
He had gone to school with the Beatles – Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison.