Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes has passed away at the age of 83. The TV star was the show's longest-serving presenter, appearing for more than 12 years in the 1960s and 70s, and was often seen with his faithful dog Shep by his side. In a statement, his family confirmed that John has "endured and suffered from" Alzheimer's disease. It read: "Whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends, his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing. His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in people's memories. This is how his family would like him remembered."
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Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes has sadly passed away
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John appeared on Blue Peter alongside co-presenters Christopher Trace, Valerie Singleton, Lesley Judd and Peter Purves. Speaking to BBC News, Peter said he was "very sad" by the news of his friend's death, but added that his Alzheimer's had become "extremely serious" in recent years. "He was unique," he said. "He had qualities that no-one else had and he’ll be remembered very fondly by a lot of people, and none more so than me." He added: "We had so much fun together over the years. There were hundreds and hundreds of happy memories. I'll never forget him."
Pictured on the show in 1977 alongside his beloved dog Shep
Other Blue Peter presenters have also paid tribute to the late TV star. Janet Ellis tweeted: "The best, bravest, funniest BP presenter. If we didn't walk in John Noakes' shadow it's because he shone the light for us. RIP." Sarah Greene wrote: "Deepest condolences to the family of John Noakes. He made us feel we could all get out there & whizz down the Cresta Run, he broke the bounds." Zoe Salmon added: "I am deeply saddened to hear about John Noakes, a Blue Peter legend who will live on in our hearts. Privileged to have met him." Katy Hill, meanwhile, said: "SADDEST news about the legendary John Noakes who inspired me to want to present Blue Peter & do EVERYTHING he did. THE BEST!"
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BBC director general Tony Hall released a statement honouring the star. It read: "He was a warm and engaging presenter who appealed to all ages and provided children’s TV with some of its most memorable moments. He will be missed by his many friends and family."