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Emotional tributes are flooding in after the death of ITV Granada Reports presenter Tony Morris.

Tony Morris, who lived in Ramsbottom, has died at the age of 57 after being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year, ITV has confirmed.

Mr Morris died at Bury Hospice on Saturday morning surrounded by his family – who have urged people not to send flowers, but to donate to the hospice where he was cared for by nurses with ‘kindness and respect’.

Viewers and colleagues in the North West have been left shocked and heartbroken after watching Mr Morris present nightly for more than a decade, even until just a few weeks ago.

In total, the journalist spent 17 years on screen covering some of the region’s most challenging and important stories, including the Manchester Arena bombing.

Many people have taken to social media to share their special memories of Mr Morris, naming him a ‘North West legend’.

His daughter and fellow journalist, Natalie Morris, led tributes from the family, saying: “We lost our incredible dad on Saturday morning.

“He was more than a parent, he was also our best friend. We are utterly heartbroken, but so grateful for the time we had with him. We will be offline with family for a while, but so appreciative of the lovely messages. We ask that rather than sending flowers people make a donation to Bury Hospice. We will forever appreciate the care, kindness and respect that the wonderful nurses provided for dad.”

Longtime viewers are adding their thoughts, saying that the presenter was ‘part of their evening routine’ as they would settle down to ‘have tea’ with Mr Morris and his Granada co-presenter, Lucy Meacock.

One viewer said on Twitter: “Awful news. Regional presenters do have such an important part in so many peoples’ lives – many people will have had their tea with Lucy and Tony for years. Will be much missed by those who knew him and those who didn’t. RIP Tony.”

Another added: “Will miss his humour, he was the reason to watch local news. RIP Tony.”

Another social media user said: “You can never think of Tony and not see his smile first. Always smiling with each broadcast. He’ll always be the smile and soul of Granada Reports.”

Viewers have praised his ‘cheery disposition’ and ‘genuine’ personality, saying that they hope ‘he will meet up with Dianne Oxberry’ – the beloved BBC weather presenter who died in 2019.

A viewer tweeted: “Devastated at this news, I loved to see the rapport he had with Lucy and always seemed a genuine good guy.

“He will be sorely missed and I hope he meets up with Dianne Oxberry. Two special Manc people. RIP.”

Staff at ITV’s Granada Reports are ‘heartbroken’ as they come to terms with the loss.

Mr Morris’ co-presenter Lucy Meacock shared that the pair had a ‘special bond’ that made for a ‘great partnership’ on the mainstay news show.

She said: “He was without doubt one of the most humble, kind and funny people I have ever met, and he would often make me laugh till my sides ached.

“I am so very, very sad and my heart goes out to his daughters Nat and Becky.

“A smile from Tony Morris always brightened everyone’s day and certainly brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years.”

Ms Meacock added that her co-presenter was a ‘great observer of people and a great listener’, saying: “He would always be respectful but would always coax the best interviews out of people and never shy away from a direct question.”

Sports reporter Chris Hall wrote a touching poem for his friend, adding ‘love you, mate’ as he shared it on social media.

It reads: “TM had his trade marks. The smile. The scowl. The sparks in his quick remarks making us howl with laughter. His mic now faded forever. Nothing comes after. Not even the weather.”

The poem went on to say: “Our Tone used his own to marvel us, move us and manoeuvre us around our armchairs.

“Hairs on end as we sat on the edge for the heavier stuff. Then quirky and off-the-cuff candour cajoled us back into cushions.

“He always knew how to push our buttons. Always ‘on it’. No stumbles.”

Mr Hall added: “So much he taught us – not always aloud – and that knowledge lives on through his daughters who make him so proud.”

Fellow journalists across news channels have also paid their respects, with BBC North West Tonight’s Annabel Tiffin telling Natalie Morris: “I am so sorry to hear about Tony.

“We may have been on opposite channels but I always had the utmost respect for him, and we would always have a wee chat whenever we crossed paths on a story.

“Sending you much love and sympathy.”

Sophie Raworth added: “He was always lovely and always smiling. I was delighted to see him again in February this year at the RTS Awards.

“Had no idea he was ill. So so sad to find out he has gone.”

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