Michael Parkinson, veteran BBC chat show host and broadcaster, dies aged 88

Veteran BBC chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson has died aged 88.

The BBC reported a family statement confirming the news, saying he'd died peacefully at home surrounded by family after a "brief illness."

The broadcaster became one of British television's most famous faces through his talk show Parkinson, interviewing the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John and George Michael during decades of on screen shows.

A statement from the BBC Director-General Tim Davie proclaimed Parkinson as the "king of the chat show."

"Michael was the king of the chat show and he defined the format for all the presenters and shows that followed.

"He interviewed the biggest stars of the 20th century and did so in a way that enthralled the public. Michael was not only brilliant at asking questions, he was a wonderful listener.

"Michael was truly one of a kind, an incredible broadcaster and journalist who will be hugely missed," the statement said.

Parkinson's career spanned seven decades, beginning back in 1971.

A family statement asked for time for them to grieve privately.

"After a brief illness Sir Michael Parkinson passed away peacefully at home last night in the company of his family.

"The family request that they are given privacy and time to grieve."

Parkinson estimated he'd interviewed over 2000 guests in his time on screen, including such high-profile guests as Sir Billy Connolly, Muhammad Ali, Sir Elton John, Madonna and Dame Helen Mirren.

He was made a CBE in 2000 in the UK and was knighted in 2008.

In 2013, he revealed he was receiving radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, and said he got the all-clear from doctors two years later.