Gary Lineker has described Frank Bough as “a brilliant presenter who made it all look so easy” following the former BBC host’s death at the age of 87.
A family friend told the BBC that Bough died on Wednesday in a care home.
Bough was one of the best-known TV hosts in the 1970s and 1980s and was part of the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast TV show in 1983.
Sports presenter Lineker tweeted: “Sorry to hear that Frank Bough has passed away. Grew up watching him present Grandstand on Saturdays. He was a brilliant presenter who made it all look so easy. RIP Frank.”
Bough’s career at the broadcaster was brought to an end in 1988 after a scandal involving drugs and sex workers.
Match Of The Day host Lineker was among a number of fellow BBC journalists, politicians and other broadcasters who paid tribute.
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Frank Bough, Star of Grandstand, Nationwide and Breakfast Time.
“His career was ruined by scandal, but he was one of the great live TV presenters. Sad news.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dame Esther Rantzen said: “He had a very quick intelligence. He could pick up interviews and work with them as well as anyone with a current affairs background. I think he was very versatile.
“They talk about sex, drugs and rock and roll and I think the problem with Frank was the public didn’t know about the sex and drugs, and also he didn’t involve himself in rock and roll. He was a current affairs presenter and that was it.
“I think that if he had been exposed that way and he had been in other industries in the entertainment world he might have been forgiven and brought back into the fold, and I think his talent deserved it.”
Former boxer Frank Bruno tweeted: “Frank & I worked together 4 the BBC when they showed the boxing. He was like a switch having a laugh/joke then ‘click’ professional serious broadcast mode a total professional.”
Astrologer Russell Grant, who helped launch BBC Breakfast Time with Bough in 1983, said: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of an old television friend.
“Frank Bough was a great man to work with. We launched #BBCBreakfastTime in January 1983. Always there for advice and support.
“‘They’ said we wouldn’t get on but we absolutely did – chalk n cheese! See you, Frank.”
Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling said Bough was “one of the very best in the business” and had always been “helpful and generous with his time”.
Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns said her father Clifford “spoke highly” of Bough when reminiscing about time served together in the Tank Regiment during conscription.
Former F1 world champion Damon Hill said simply “RIP Frank indeed.”
Former Labour MP George Galloway called Bough “peerless” as a presenter, adding: “The BBC have no-one like him now.”
BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood said: “I worked with Frank Bough in the summer of 1983 when I was a student employed as a secretary on Breakfast Time. He was always very kind to me and very professional.”
A spokesperson for the BBC said: “Frank excelled as a live presenter with the BBC for many years and we are very sorry to hear of his passing.
“We send our condolences to his family and friends.”
As a former Oxford soccer Blue, Bough anchored six World Cups, six Olympics and at least a dozen Five Nations championships for the BBC.
Bough also worked for other major networks including Sky, ITV and London Weekend Television.
Bough’s career with the BBC ended in 1988 when he was sacked after reports that he had taken cocaine and visited brothels.
He was involved in further scandal in 1992 when he was photographed leaving a sadomasochistic sex worker’s flat.
The presenter said in an interview with Sky in the same year that he had been “exceedingly stupid”.
“I caused a lot of pain to my wife and my family and I bitterly regret all these things, but I have to say that I believe that everybody, when they have difficulties with their marriage or sexuality, surely has the right to sort these things out in the privacy of their own home,” he added.