Gordon Burns fought back the tears as he paid tribute to his former North West Tonight co-presenter Dianne Oxberry.
The weather presenter and reporter died from cancer in the Christie Hospital yesterday aged 51 .
In a special programme screened tonight, her North West Tonight colleagues lined up to share their memories of the mum-of-two, who was one of the most recognised faces on regional TV.
Krypton Factor presenter Burns, who was chief anchorman on NWT for 24 years up to 2011, returned to the sofa to lead the tributes to his friend and colleague.
Gordon Burns paid an emotional tribute to Dianne on BBC North West Tonight
Diane Oxberry was a beloved weather presenter for North West Tonight
- Dianne Oxberry’s BBC colleague breaks down about her death as he reads forecast
He said: "The whole region is so shocked, devastated and heart-broken. I just cannot believe it.
"I used to say to her how she had such a huge following and she would sort of dismiss it.
"She was such an outstanding broadcaster. She was brilliant. When she looked down the camera she connected with the people who were watching.
"There has never been a better weather forecaster than Dianne. She just connected with everybody. She had such grace and humour, but she also didn’t take any prisoners.
"This programme will never be quite the same again. All our thoughts and our love are with [Dianne’s husband] Ian and her children.
"I cannot bear the thought of what they are going through. Totally heartbroken."
Dianne Oxberry outside Media City in Salford, Greater Manchester
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Earlier in the show reporter Stuart Flinders introduced a moving tribute to Dianne, who started her career at Radio 1, where she worked alongside Steve Wright and Simon Mayo.
He said: "The weather was always bright with Dianne Oxberry. She was at the heart of the North West Tonight family for nearly a quarter of a century."
Footage and pictures of Dianne with Sir Paul McCartney, Take That and Peter Kay was also shown.
Simon Mayo said viewers ‘felt as though they knew her’, while BBC Five Live presenter and former NWT sports reporter Tony Livesey told how he was ‘so proud’ to be her friend.
Dianne Oxberry with Simon Mayo and fellow Radio 1 co-host Caron Keating, who would also die young from cancer in 2004
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