Julian Keane

BBC World Service presenter Julian Keane has died aged 57, a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Keane was a well-known voice on the global radio station for more than quarter of a century, featuring on the French Service, Europe Today, The World Today and The Newsroom.

He also presented the network’s Newsday programme since its launch in 2012.

The programme’s producers described him as a “warm, calm and surefooted presence in the studio.”

“Julian also presented the programme from a long list of countries, often finding himself in the middle of some of the biggest news stories we’ve covered,” they said in a tribute package.

The piece hears Julian reporting in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the run-up to elections and in Venezuela as the full scale of the economic crisis began to emerge, as well as in the Central African Republic at the height of the violence between rival militias.

Image caption

Keane, third from left, with colleagues on The World Tonight in 1998

William Edmundson, a senior journalist at Newsday, paid heartfelt tribute to his colleague.

“Julian wasn’t just a close friend, he was a great broadcaster,” he told the BBC. “He found the real person behind the interview because he was patient, cared and wanted to get it right. And with each person comes a story.

“Over decades in the studio and dozens of trips we worked to get those stories on air. We both knew how lucky we were to have the opportunity. The only consolation is that we made the best of the time we had. “

Thomas Dahlhaus, Newsday’s deputy editor, added that Keane worked hard to pass his passion and wisdom on to new journalists entering the industry.

“I’ve never seen anyone help, mentor and support so many people, junior presenters and producers alike,” he said.

Some colleagues also posted tributes on Twitter, including former co-presenters Shaimaa Khalil and Ben James.

And, of course, tributes were paid to Keane in his natural home – on-air.

“We don’t usually like to make the story about us, but I hope you agree this warrants it,” Newsday presenter Lawrence Pollard told viewers.

“Julian Keane, a much loved and respected presenter on the show has died at only 57. Funny and talented, Clever and handsome, he was such a charming man it was impossible to object to his unfeasible array of qualities.

“To which we can now add bravery and consideration for others in the face of terrible illness. Julian won awards for his reporting and was someone we all learnt from by working with him over his 25 plus years.

“Needless to say, he would have written and read this better than I can.”

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