Thursday 17 January 2019

'Keith was a one-off who was loved by everyone who knew and worked with him' - ex wife

Keith Chegwin presenting It’s A Knockout
Keith Chegwin presenting It’s A Knockout

Maggie Philbin has hailed her ex-husband and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop co-star Keith Chegwin as a "one-off" after his death at the age of 60.

The couple were married from 1982 to 1993 after Philbin joined the line-up of Swap Shop in 1978.

Chegwin, often known as Cheggers, died at home yesterday after battling a progressive lung condition.

In a statement on her website, Philbin said: "I am sure you will have seen the heartbreaking news about Keith who died earlier today.

"It is incredibly sad. Keith was a one-off - full of life, generous and with a focus on things that mattered - his family.

"I saw him two months ago at his sister Janice's wedding, where he was still attempting to be life and soul of the party despite being on portable oxygen, and made sure he knew how much he meant to us all.

"Our daughter Rose flew home from San Francisco to be with him over the last few weeks and I know he was surrounded by so much love from his second wife Maria, their son Ted, his sister Janice, his twin brother Jeff and father Colin.

"Keith was loved by everyone who knew and worked with him. I first met him when we did a film about windsurfing when I joined Swap Shop in 1978 and was immediately struck by his fun, energy and kindness.

"He drove me home to Leicestershire from that freezing lake in Staines, insisting it was on his own way home (he lived in Twickenham).

"He leaves us all with very special memories."

In his last message on Twitter, posted on September 28, Chegwin let fans know he was not well, tweeting: "Still not right. I will be back - but not for a bit yet. I'm so sorry."


His family announced his death, saying: "We are heartbroken to share the news that Keith Chegwin sadly passed away following a long-term battle with a progressive lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which rapidly worsened towards the end of this year.

"Keith died peacefully at home shortly after midnight on December 11. His wife Maria, his daughter Rose and his son Ted were by his side.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Severn Hospice for the kindness, support and care they have shown us all over the last few weeks.

"Keith was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. We would respectfully ask to be left to mourn his passing in private."

Chegwin started his career as an actor but became a household name as a TV presenter of shows such as Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Cheggers Plays Pop and Saturday Superstore.

He sparked controversy in 2000 with a TV game show in which he and several contestants appeared completely naked. The TV star wore nothing but a hat in Naked Jungle on Channel 5.

He made no secret of his battle with alcoholism but staged a comeback in recent years.

He took part in Dancing On Ice in 2013 and Celebrity MasterChef and Celebrity Big Brother in 2015, when he came fourth, and said that while his experience in the house had been a "nightmare", he "actually quite enjoyed it".

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