Sky Sports presenter Brian Woolnough dies, aged 63

Sports personalities including Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Lineker have paid tribute to the respected sports journalist

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Brian Woolnough, presenter of sports shows Hold the Back Page and Sunday Supplement, has died, aged 63, following a prolonged battle with bowel cancer.

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As well as chairing lively debates on the two Sky Sports series, Woolnough was a respected journalist, having spent 27 years at The Sun, where he became the paper’s chief football writer, before moving to the Daily Star in 2001.

Following the news of his death, numerous sports personalities delivered tributes to Woolnough.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “I liked him. He was a good man, Brian. He was a good journalist and a good personality. He asked good questions, sometimes too good! It’s very sad and my thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: “Very sorry to hear that Brian Woolnough has passed away. One of football’s finest journalists. #RIPWooly”

And ex-Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys said of his former colleague: “Really sad to hear the news of Brian Woolnough’s passing. He fought cancer long and hard but died overnight aged 63. RIP Brian.”

Meanwhile, fellow journalists also took to Twitter to share their memories of Woolnough and their sadness at his passing.

Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter said: “Wooly was a superb broadcaster, a top print reporter & a good friend. Thoughts with his family. RIP Wooly.”

The Independent’s Sam Wallace tweeted: “Farewell Brian Woolnough. Reported on every England manager from Ramsey to Roy. I learned a lot from him. He always asked the hard question.”

And Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail said: “Desperately sad to hear that Brian Woolnough has passed away. A Fleet Street legend and top, top man. Thoughts with his family.”

Meanwhile, Steve Curry, writing for the Mail Online, called Woolnough “the voice of the terrace fan.”

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Woolnough leaves behind his wife Linda and their three children.