Former Mastermind host Magnus Magnusson has died, it emerged tonight.
The BBC said a family member had confirmed his death.
Magnusson, 77, who had been suffering from cancer, was best known for hosting the quiz show and for coining the catchphrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.
Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, said: “For millions of viewers Magnus Magnusson was one of the defining faces and voices of the BBC.
“To the contestants of Mastermind, he was a tough but always fair questionmaster, but behind this screen persona there was a family man of tremendous warmth and humanity.
“All our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time, and everyone at the BBC will share their tremendous sense of loss.”
In October last year, it was announced the presenter had been diagnosed with cancer.
The journalist, historian and author was forced to cancel a string of public appearances.
Magnusson, who was born in Iceland but moved to Scotland at an early age, presented the high-brow quiz show for 25 years.
He studied English at Jesus College, Oxford, before launching his journalistic career at the Scottish Daily Express and then The Scotsman.
A veteran BBC presenter, he fronted Mastermind for 25 years.
First recorded in 1972, the show became known for its distinctive theme music and intimidating black leather contestant’s chair.
At the height of its popularity, around 22 million viewers tuned in to watch contestants answer questions on obscure specialist subjects and general knowledge.
Magnusson was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989. He has served as Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University since 2002.
In 2004 he had to undergo emergency abdominal surgery after reportedly suffering a ruptured stomach abscess.