Sir Terry Wogan has died aged 77 after a short battle with cancer, his family has confirmed. Wogan had recently celebrated 50 years in broadcasting, but late last year he was forced to pull out of presenting ‘Children in Need’, for the first time since the telethon’s inception, due to poor health.

Terry WoganSir Terry Wogan has died aged 77.

In a statement, the Wogan family said: “Sir Terry Wogan died today after a short but brave battle with cancer. He passed away surrounded by his family. While we understand he will be missed by many, the family ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”

BBC director general Tony Hall led tributes to Wogan saying: ‘Terry truly was a national treasure. Today we've lost a wonderful friend. He was a lovely, lovely man and our thoughts are with his wife and family. For 50 years Sir Terry graced our screens and airwaves. His warmth, wit and geniality meant that for millions he was a part of the family.’

Prime Minister David Cameron also paid tribute on twitter writing, ‘My thoughts are with Terry Wogan's family. Britain has lost a huge talent - someone millions came to feel was their own special friend. I grew up listening to him on the radio and watching him on tv. His charm and wit always made me smile.’

More: Sir Terry Wogan Pulls Out Of Hosting 'Children In Need'; Replaced By Dermot O'Leary

Born in Limerick, Wogan began working for the BBC in the late 60s after beginning his career on RTÉ. In 1972 he took over the breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, becoming immensely popular with listeners. He continued to present the show until 1984.

On television, Wogan fronted his own BBC chat show ‘Wogan’, from 1982 to 1992. In 1980 he became the host of annual telethon ‘Children in Need’, which he fronted every year until 2015, when he was forced to pull out due to poor health.

Wogan will also be fondly remembered as fronting the BBC’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest from 1980-2008. Providing commentary for the contest’s final, Wogan was famed for his witty asides during the often absurd competition.

On twitter, Graham Norton, who replaced Wogan as the BBC’s Eurovision host, paid tribute writing, ‘He made it seem effortless and for a young boy in Ireland he made it seem possible. RIP Sir Terry Wogan. I'll raise a glass during song 9.’