Yes, you CAN die of a broken heart: Everything you need to know about the poorly-understood ailment after death of legendary BBC radio presenter Steve Wright

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Broadcast legend Steve Wright died of a ‘broken heart’ after losing his BBC Radio 2 show, his friend has speculated.

Publicist Gary Farrow, who knew the legendary presenter for four decades, said the 69-year-old was ‘devastated’ after bosses axed his popular afternoon slot in 2022. 

Wright was found dead at his £2million flat in Marylebone, west London, on Monday morning after paramedics were ‘called to reports of an incident’. 

Broken heart syndrome, medically known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, is triggered by extreme emotional distress that weakens one of the heart’s chambers.  

Around 2,500 Brits are suffer from the condition every year.

Steve Wright pictured in 1980. Wright was found dead at his £2million flat in Marylebone, west London , on Monday morning after paramedics were 'called to reports of an incident'

Steve Wright pictured in 1980. Wright was found dead at his £2million flat in Marylebone, west London , on Monday morning after paramedics were ‘called to reports of an incident’

It is caused by a sudden release of stress hormones, which causes part of the heart to become temporarily enlarged and struggle to pump blood properly.

The loss of a loved one, financial worries and a sudden illness are examples of stressful triggers that can bring on the syndrome, according to the British Heart Foundation. 

Symptoms can include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea and vomiting. 

It is usually temporary and many people make a full recovery. 

But the syndrome can permanently affect the heart’s pumping motion, delaying the twisting movement made by the muscle during a heartbeat.

Scans and blood tests are usually used to diagnose the condition. 

While there’s no standard treatment for broken heart syndrome, doctors may prescribe diuretics, which lower blood pressure, blood thinning drugs to reduce the risk of blood clots and beta blockers or ACE inhibitors to take pressure off the heart.  

Experts have long believed takotsubo cardiomyopathy may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because symptoms and test results are similar.

However, unlike those who suffer heart attacks, broken heart syndrome is not linked with blocked arteries.

The condition is more common among women than men and is more likely to affect older people, who are more likely to have lost their lifelong spouses.

Mr Farrow told The Sun: ‘Steve lives for the show, he absolutely loved it – and the listeners loved him. My view is that he died from a broken heart.’ 

Former colleague, Liz Kershaw, slammed BBC bosses for their alleged ‘shabby’ treatment of Mr Wright, who she claimed was ‘dumped by the BBC and treated like a tin of beans’.

Her outburst came as staff at Radio 2 were said to be furious at station chief Helen Thomas issuing a statement to pay tribute to the much-loved DJ less than 18 months after axing his popular Afternoon Show and moving him to a Sunday slot.

Wright was pronounced dead by emergency services who arrived at his home on Monday morning.

His family announced his death on Tuesday. They said: ‘It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

‘In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence and his father Richard.

Steve Wright, who died at the age of 69, pictured in his recording studio in 1994

Steve Wright, who died at the age of 69, pictured in his recording studio in 1994 

The DJ, seen in 2003, was made an MBE for services to radio

The DJ, seen in 2003, was made an MBE for services to radio 

‘Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities.

‘As we all grieve, the family requests privacy at this immensely difficult time.’

The police said yesterday that his death was ‘unexpected’ but not suspicious and a report was being prepared for the corner. 

Wright joined the BBC in the 1970s, going on to host shows on BBC Radio 1 and 2 for more than four decades which attracted millions of listeners.

Wright was also a long-standing presenter of Top Of The Pops on BBC One and presented the popular Sunday Love Songs weekend mid-morning show on Radio 2.

His last show was a pre-recorded Valentine’s Day edition of the programme two days ago. Wright told listeners in his final sign-off: ‘I’ll be back for more love songs next Sunday, ta-da then.’

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