Thursday 18 January 2018

Legendary DJ Tony Fenton dies after cancer battle

Tony Fenton
Tony Fenton

LEGENDARY DJ Tony Fenton has lost his battle with cancer after suffering a setback in his treatment.

The 53-year-old was brought back to hospital in recent days but his death was announced late this morning.

Staff at Today FM in Dublin were called to a meeting as it was announced that Mr Fenton had passed away overnight.

It is understood he had taken a setback in recent weeks.

He had been looking forward to getting back to work at Today FM and recently told the Herald he was looking forward to being behind the microphone again.

"I'm chomping at the bit, I really cannot wait. It'll be just me again, back on as normal," he said in January.

After 40 years in broadcasting Tony was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame last September.

He had been undergoing treatment for the recurrent cancer he had been battling on and off since 2011.

2FM DJ Dave Fanning said that he met Tony about four weeks ago and he was optimistic.

"He was sick for a long time and he beat it," Dave told the Herald.

"I talked to him about four or five weeks ago and he said he was coming back but as it turned out it wasn't to be.

"He took the route of massive optimism all the way. He just didn't want to hear anything bad. He was full of life, he was every cliché you can imagine, up for everything, they don't make them like that anymore," Mr Fanning added.

Newstalk's Jonathan Healy said Tony had provided the soundtrack to a generation through the Hotline on 2FM before moving over to Today FM.

"He was responsible for my first ever appearance on radio and that of my colleagues Ray Foley, KC and Ruth Scott all appeared on the Hotline," he said this morning.

"Tony gave us a break. I met him in the lift just a couple of weeks ago, he was upbeat, as he always was, talking about how he was getting the better of the cancer.

"Unfortunately that cancer got the better of him today. So our thoughts with his friends and family. May he rest in peace."

In a  statement, Today FM paid tribute to the DJ's passing.

"For over 30 years Tony lit up the airwaves and was one of Ireland’s most admired and respected radio hosts, unmatched in his knowledge of and passion for music.

"Tony inspired his colleagues and listeners with his positivity, and his velvety-smooth voice was one of the most recognisable on air.

Tony joined Today FM in the afternoons in August 2004, starting off his brand new show with Snow Patrol’s ‘Spitting Games’. His passion for music and radio was rewarded in 2008 when he scooped the PPI Radio Award for Music Broadcaster of The Year in Kilkenny.

"Last September, after a decade at Today FM, Tony was honoured for his skill, passion and love for radio at a ceremony in Dublin in which he was welcomed into the PPI Radio Awards Hall of Fame.

"A giant in Irish radio, Tony interviewed all the big names in music from Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher and Jessie J to Al Green, Carly Simon and Tinie Tempah.

“Tony, from all your friends and colleagues in Today FM: we’ll miss you dearly dude”.

RTE Radio also paid tribute to him. 

"We are deeply saddened by the news that our friend and former colleague Tony Fenton has passed away.

"Tony joined RTÉ 2fm in 1985 and very quickly established himself as one of the great 2fm DJ’s and a true radio pioneer.

"He had two very successful decades on 2fm and brought so much enthusiasm and professionalism to the station. He was a huge supporter of Irish music and new bands, and is probably best remembered for the programmes ‘Hotline’, and the Top 30 Chart Show and his catch phrase ‘You’re the Winner’. 

"Tony was always larger than life and the ultimate showman – he at his happiest when he was in studio when that red light went on.

"We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Tony’s family, friends and colleagues. He is a big loss to Irish broadcasting and will be greatly missed."

2FM DJ and fellow cancer sufferer Louise McSharry paid tribute to Tony today on Twitter.

"So very sad to hear of the passing of Tony Fenton. What an incredible career, and a very kind man on the occasion I met him," she said.

Broadcaster Tom Dunne said: "Heartbroken to hear of Tony Fenton's passing. Audrey and I loved him very much. We had so many great times with him, so many."

At just 17, Anthony Fagan - as he was known to his parents - got his big break at pirate station Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD).

In 2013 Tony revealed that he was battling cancer for a second time. He had beaten prostate cancer but the disease returned.


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