Born in Liverpool in 1939, Peel moved to America in 1962 and got his first break in radio at Dallas's WWR. Peel moved to Radio 1 in the late Sixties, and remained with the station from its inception until his death.
"John Peel was a unique broadcaster whose influence on Radio 1 could be felt from its very first days," said BBC Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky. "He nurtured musicians and listeners alike introducing them to new sounds."
In breaking the news of his death, BBC 1 interrupted programming to play Peel's favorite song, the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks."
Peel is survived by his wife Sheila and his four children.