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'Sad day for the nation' as culinary whiz Keith Floyd passes away aged 65

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The flamboyant chef, whose often shambolic style of presentation endeared him to millions of viewers, died at his partner's home after a heart attack on Monday
 Photo: © Rex

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"He enriched many people's lives. It's very sad. A little piece of Britain died yesterday which will never be replaced." says pal Marco Pierre White
 Photo: © Rex

15 SEPTEMBER 2009

Celebrity chef Keith Floyd has died at the age of 65, following a heart attack on Monday night.

The endearing TV presenter, who, wineglass in hand, charmed viewers with his huge enthusiasm in cookery programmes since the Eighties, died at his partner's home in Dorset.

Keith, said by many to be the 'first' celebrity chef, was a "natural cook" who had "inspired a nation", says pal Marco Pierre White.

"He enriched many people's lives. It's very sad. A little piece of Britain died yesterday which will never be replaced."

Out of the public eye, Keith had a rocky personal life. He had been married and divorced four times and was declared bankrupt in 1996.

"It's remarkable how often my marriages and my restaurants seem to go down the pan at approximately the same time," he wrote in his autobiography.

Raised in Somerset, Keith started off as a journalist before seeing Michael Caine role in war film Zulu, which inspired him to join the army.

After leaving the forces, he worked as a dishwasher and vegetable peeler before opening his first restaurant, Floyd's Bistro, in Bristol, at the age of 22. 

Its success led to him running several establishments until he was discovered by a television producer and made his first show, Floyd On Fish, in 1985.

Keith, whose TV career spanned over two decades, revealed in July that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

After having five operations which removed 90 per cent of the cancer, the chef vowed to beat the illness and was undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the time of his death.

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