'We are heartbroken' - tributes after death of Sunderland-born TV and radio presenter Dianne Oxberry
Tributes have been paid to Sunderland-born TV and radio presenter Dianne Oxberry, who has died of cancer aged just 51.
Dianne originally joined the BBC as a personal assistant at Radio 2 but began her broadcasting career alongside Steve Wright on Radio 1, before joining Simon Mayo's breakfast show team.
She moved to North West Tonight in 1994, where she worked until her death.
She was the main weather presenter on the programme and also fronted regional current affairs show Inside Out North West.
Dianne, who lived in Greater Manchester, died at Manchester's Christie Hospital yesterday, the BBC said.
Her husband, Ian Hindle - who she married at Washington's Holy Trinity Church - said: "Dianne was an amazing wife and mother who embraced life to the full. She was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her but also to the people who watched and welcomed her into their homes each night as if she were part of their family too."
Mr Hindle, a camera operator, added: "She will leave a massive void in our lives but, because of the remarkable person she was, she will forever live on in our hearts. The children and I will miss her more than anyone can imagine."
Dianne Oxberry joined North West Tonight after studying at the Met Office College.
She also presented a number of programmes on BBC Radio Manchester, including the Breakfast Show.
Roger Johnson, a presenter on North West Tonight, said: "We are heartbroken by Dianne's death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It's hard to imagine the programme without her.
"Our thoughts are with Ian and all of Dianne's family. We hope they will find some comfort in the knowledge so many people loved Dianne and will miss her terribly."
Fellow presenter Annabel Tiffin said: "This is an enormous shock for all of us. I can scarcely believe Dianne has died. She was loved by our viewers, by all of us at North West Tonight. My heart breaks for her family.
"Di was so talented, so beautiful, so funny and so full of life. On screen she was a star, radiating warmth and good humour. Off screen, she was a wonderful colleague, a loyal friend, and I will miss her terribly."
Aziz Rashid, Head of BBC North West, added: "We are all devastated by this dreadful news. The coming days will be difficult but we will do our best to pay tribute to someone who meant so much to us all and made such an enormous contribution to broadcasting in the North West.
"Just last November during our Plod for Pudsey challenge for Children in Need, Di was out meeting viewers around the region. I saw for myself the incredible reaction she got from the public, which showed how much people cared for her."
Prof Brian Cox was among those paying tribute today on Twitter: "Very sad to hear Diane Oxberry has died," he wrote.
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"Anyone who has lived in the North West over the last 20 years or so will know what a superb broadcaster she was."
This morning presenter Phillip Schofield Tweeted: "I’ve just heard of the sudden death of Dianne Oxberry.
"She was such a wonderful, kind, funny and talented woman. All my love to her family, friends and colleagues."
Dianne Oxberry's weather presenter colleague paid an emotional tribute to the broadcaster live on air.
Simon King told Radio 5 Live how her death had come as a shock.
"It's devastating, absolutely devastating. It's been such a quick process, this whole thing," he told the station's breakfast show.
"It's hit us like a ton of bricks, it really has."
Presenter Rachel Burden asked him: "Are you OK to do the weather?"
""Yes," he replied, his voice breaking, before saying: "So, excuse me," and going on to regain his composure and present the forecast.
Co-host Nicky Campbell told him afterwards: "You did her proud Si."
Burden said she got to know Oxberry in the last couple of years 'as part of the BBC Women's Network and she was an incredible support and a great champion for her female colleagues here at the BBC'.
"I can't tell you the impact she made in talking to other people and supporting them in their own personal journeys," she said.
"She was a really loyal and very generous colleague to people here."
Campbell described Oxberry as a 'wonderful person, sweet and warm woman'.
He added: "She kept it real. She was so genuine on the air. There was no affectation at all.
"The best broadcasters, something we all aspire to, is to be exactly what you are on the screen and off the screen and on the radio and off the radio and she did that brilliantly."