TRIBUTES poured in for suddenly radio broadcaster Phil Easton who died last night.
The veteran presenter, 59, suffered a heart attack shortly after presenting his breakfast show on Liverpool’s CityTalk radio station.
He left the studio at the top of St John’s Beacon at around 9am yesterday and returned to his home in Crosby.
It is thought he suffered the heart attack in the early afternoon.
Today, well-known figures from the broadcasting industry spoke of his impact on Merseyside's radio scene.
Mr Easton had many friends in the celebrity world, including singer Chris de Burgh and talk show presenter Jeremy Kyle, who phoned Radio City DJ Pete Price last night and was said to be "distraught".
Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips said Mr Easton recently revealed his intention to retire within two years and move to Spain with his family.
He told the ECHO: “He was principally a music presenter and going on to CityTalk was great for him because it expanded what he did.
“It seems so unfair because he was a fit guy and was bonkers about his football. I knew him socially and he was the tops.”
Mr Easton worked with Radio City for more than 30 years and was one of the first presenters to join the station when it launched in 1975.
He was also the first broadcaster to be heard on City Talk 105.9 when Liverpool's all-talk station was launched on January 28 last year.
The presenter, who hosted the popular breakfast show with Kim Hughes, recently interviewed prime minister Gordon Brown during his visit to Liverpool.
Mr Price said he heard the news at around teatime yesterday and struggled to complete his show between 10pm-2am.
He told the ECHO: “The hardest thing was doing my show and not saying a word. At the end, I asked my producer if I could play a pre-recorded show because all his family had yet to find out.
“I remember when we first co-presented the breakfast show on Magic FM, he turned to me and said: 'Well, Mr Price. This is going to be interesting.'
“He was without doubt one of the nicest men you could meet in the industry. He was a magical man and his death is so unexpected.”
Mr Easton's pioneering show The Great Easton Express ran for 12 years and won him a legion of loyal fans.
He worked for a number of southern radio stations before returning to Liverpool and fronting the Magic FM breakfast show.
Phil lived in Crosby and leaves his wife Fran, two sons, Dan and Ben, and a daughter, Zoe.
Richard Maddock, station director for Radio City, Magic and City Talk, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news.
“Phil was an astounding broadcaster and friend to everyone here at Radio City, Magic and City Talk. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”
Mr Easton was well-known for his involvement at Anfield, where he was the matchday announcer for Liverpool FC, and his voice was instantly recognisable to thousands of Reds fans.
Today, the club said it would discuss ways to potentially marking his death in the near future.
Spokesman Ian Cotton said: “All of us at the club are shocked and deeply saddened.
“Phil was at the Chelsea game the night before when we were all talking to him.
“He was an intelligent and humorous man who was always great company. He will be sadly missed.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. Phil was part of the matchday routine at Anfield and he was well respected.
“When I was rung and told about his death last night, I just couldn’t believe it.” THE DAILY POST