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BBC Radio Wales presenter Chris Needs dies aged 68

A BBC Radio Wales presenter has died after a short battle with ill health.

Chris Needs, 68, had hosted his Friendly Garden late-night phone-in show for 18 years.

BBC Wales said Mr Needs had died from a heart condition on Sunday, having presented his final show on Friday evening.

In a statement, it said: “It is with enormous sadness and regret that we confirm the death of Chris Needs following a short period of ill health.

“Through his Friendly Garden, Chris brought pleasure and comfort to thousands of listeners, from all over the world, who treated him like a true friend.”

The Friendly Garden show, broadcast weekdays between 10pm and 1am, was known for Mr Needs’s mix of lighthearted and sober on-air exchanges with regular callers, with a large proportion of them being elderly.

Radio Wales’s editor Colin Paterson described Mr Needs as “a true broadcasting legend”.

He said: “His contribution to Radio Wales can’t be underestimated, not least in recent months when he has provided comfort and companionship to our listeners.

“And for almost 20 years, the Friendly Garden has brought people together from across Wales and the world, from every walk of life. The ability to bring people together was one of his many strengths and I know the Garden team, along with all of us at Radio Wales will miss him.

“But our thoughts today are with Chris’s husband Gabe, his family and his friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Radio 1 DJ Greg James said on Twitter: “Such sad news. Sending all our love from Radio 1. Loved featuring Chris on my show over the years. And it was an honour to have been welcomed into the Friendly Garden.”

Mr Needs was born in Cwmafan, Neath Port Talbot, in 1954, and was also a classical pianist and actor.

In 2005, he was awarded an MBE by the Queen during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

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