Radio show presenter Chris Copsey, from Scaynes Hill, has died suddenly.
Mr Copsey, known as “Coppo” to friends was in his early 50s and one of the most experienced and respected broadcasters in Sussex.
He broadcast a breakfast show on Worthing based Splash FM, which a few years ago took over Burgess Hill based Bright FM.
His death after collapsing on Tuesday afternoon led to immediate website tributes.
Mr Copsey, married to Yvonne and with two children, had a wide range of interests including Manchester United FC and was known for his love of the Sussex community and he was a former governor at Warden Park School.
Local county and parish councillor Pete Bradbury, who knew Chris as a governor at Warden Park, said: “He was a lovely man, a fantastic governor at Warden Park, compassionate but pragmatic, and he certainly will be very sadly missed.”
Mr Copsey made his name initially at Southern Sound, later re-named Southern FM and then Heart.
He had lately been working for Media Sound Holdings, hosting recently a popular breakfast show broadcast across the Splash, Bright, Arrow and Sovereign stations.
Allan Moulds, managing director of MSH said: “He really was, as a lot of the tributes have said, a legend in Sussex radio and a consumate professional.
“The other thing about him was that he loved Sussex and that really came through in his broadcasting. Everyone here is absolutely devastated by his death.”
Pete McIntosh, head of music at Media Sound Holdings said: “He really was a legend on the airwaves in Sussex, joining Southern Sound at launch back in 1983 and remained with the station in its various guises for over 20 years. He joined the Media Sound stations just over 18 months ago, initially presenting mid-mornings, and recently moving back to breakfast - the slot in which he made his name with Southern back in the 80s. He was a consummate professional, always paying attention to the slightest of details, always offering a kind and supportive word to his colleagues, and much loved by his listeners.”
I know he will be greatly missed by many friends and colleagues. He was kind, witty, talented, and a devoted family man.
Coppo had been a constant voice on the Sussex airwaves since 1983, and we were very proud to have him as one of us. He was a Sussex broadcasting legend, a consummate professional – but, more importantly than that, he was a great friend, and so much fun to be around and have as a colleague.
“Chris had been with us for a little under eighteen months, but many of us had known him for a number of years. Others, at the very least, grew up listening to him.
Formal online books of condolence opened from 6am on Wednesday morning.
Former colleague Nicky Keig-Shevlin wrote online: “Coppo was a radio legend and it was an honour to co-host with him on the breakfast show at Southern FM for many, many years. More than that...he was a true gent, a brilliant friend - loyal, kind and funny. His wife and kids were his life and I cannot begin to imagine their pain. I send them my love and want them to know how loved Chris was. He will be so missed.”
One listener said: “You were such a great man. You have helped me through some really tough times.”