POPULAR broadcaster and music icon Bob Harris is recovering in hospital after suffering health problems while out walking in the countryside near his Steventon home.

Mr Harris, 73, known affectionately as ‘Whispering Bob’ for his smooth vocal delivery, is best-loved for hosting television music show The Old Grey Whistle Test in the 70s, and for presenting shows on BBC Radio 2 – including his own Country Show, recorded from his Under the Apple Tree Studio.

He suffered an aortic dissection – a tear to the blood vessel – while on one of his regular five mile exercise walks.

He took to social media to inform fans, saying: “I am sorry to say that I will be unable to broadcast on the Radio 2 Country Show for the next few weeks. While out walking I suffered a tear to my aorta. The aorta is basically the M1 of the body and any damage is regarded as extremely serious.

“It was an incredibly scary moment and I am massively indebted to the ambulance crew who attended so promptly, the Intensive Care team and the consultants at the John Radcliffe Hospital and to my wife Trudie and my wonderful family who have rallied round with huge love and support.”

Oxford Mail:

Bob Harris: Picture by Marc West

He added: “I am not sure exactly when I will be on air again but I am on the road to recovery now and will be back playing music for you on Radio 2 as soon as possible.”

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His son Miles said his father was “made of tough stuff”. He said: “Last Friday was the scariest night I’ve ever lived through. Thank God for the NHS and the incredible team at the John Radcliffe Hospital who literally saved my dad’s life.”

Hundreds of fans took to social media to send their wishes.

Mr Harris made a star cameo in this year’s hit move Wild Rose and has been touring the country with up-and-coming country bands.