John McCririck dead: Star ‘suffering ill health’ before death as private funeral confirmed

John McCririck passed away at a London hospital this morning aged 79. In a statement to, the ITV Racing presenter’s rep stated: “Despite suffering ill health in recent months, John continued to make several TV and radio appearances.” The outspoken TV personality’s funeral will be a private affair. He is survived by his wife of 48 years Jenny McCririck – nicknamed The Booby.

Despite suffering ill health in recent months, John McCririck continued to make several TV and radio appearances

Back in October, John spoke out about his health, saying he didn’t believe he’d be “alive this time next year”.

He was the face of British horse racing until he was dropped from Channel 4 in 2013, after 28 years with the channel.

The small screen regular shed three-stone due to a severe bout to flu and said he felt like a “dinosaur” following his job loss.

“You’re a lost soul wandering around an environment you’re no longer part of,” he told Mail Online.

He then commented: “Life is empty. I don’t expect to be alive this time next year. It’s a question of slipping away.

“I’ve prepared the Booby [his wife, Jenny] for it. When I’m gone she knows exactly what to do and she’ll be fine.”

* John McCririck dead: Legendary horse racing broadcaster dead at 79 *

Prior to his interview, John said he had been suffering for much of the year with a chest infection, but doctors were unsure of the cause.

John had shocked viewers on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side when he displayed a noticeably thinner frame.

After fans commented on his “frail and gaunt” appearance, he revealed he had been ill with the flu.

His representative told at the time: “What started with flu in the New Year led to a serious chest infection, he is recovering well but slowly.”

The star later appeared on This Morning to explain the reason for his new look, saying it had left him unable to speak for three months.

John’s interest in horse racing and betting began at Harrow where he was the school bookie.

After leaving, he worked for an illegal street bookmaker before later learning the art of tic-tac, clerking bets and making a book.

John cut his teeth in racing journalism on Formindex, a tipping sheet otherwise known as The Golden Guide.

He went on to write for The Sporting Life where he won British Press Awards, Specialist Writer of the Year and Campaigning Journalist of the Year.

John jointed ITV in 1981 for Shergar’s Derby then became a household name as part of the Channel 4 Racing team, when they took over coverage of the sport in 1984.

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