Veteran broadcaster and patron of Grace House Kathy Secker has died, it has been announced.
It is believed that concerns were raised about the popular presenter, who was 70, after she failed to turn up for a day out with a friend.
BBC Newcastle, who Kathy worked for, tweeted: “Some very sad news. Kathy Secker, one on our longest serving presenters, has died. She’ll be hugely missed.
“Kathy’s passing comes as a huge shock. Our thoughts are with her family. We’ll have a tribute on Sunday @ 2pm.”
Kathy was still presenting the Sunday Dedications programme on BBC Newcastle each week.
She had been instrumental in the Grace House appeal for over a decade.
Speaking about the news, Dr Karen Parry, chief executive officer of Grace House said: “Everybody associated with Grace House was shocked and saddened by the news.
“Kathy put her heart and soul into turning the vision for Grace House into a reality, and her passion and commitment will always be remembered through the legacy she has left.
“Hundreds of children with complex disabilities, health needs and life-limiting conditions will benefit from her work, and everyone at Grace House would like to express their admiration and gratitude for all her hard work.
“My thoughts go out to her family at this very difficult time.”
Karen Maclennan, long-time colleague of Kathy and senior fund-raiser at Grace House said: “It has been an honour to have worked alongside Kathy at Grace House.
“She was dedicated to helping children in our region who had life limiting and threatening conditions.
“My sincere condolences go out to her family at this very sad time.”