BBC legend Johnnie Walker, 79, completely housebound – but still hosting radio show

BBC legend Johnnie Walker, 79, completely housebound – but still hosting radio show

Despite his health woes, Johnnie Walker is still presenting his Radio 2 shows (Picture: Jenny Goodall)

Veteran BBC radio host Johnnie Walker is still hosting his radio show – despite being completely housebound due to a serious health condition.

The Radio 2 icon, 79, has helmed his shows – Sounds of the 70s and the Radio 2 Rock Show – from the comfort of his Dorset home since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

He still continues to host the weekly shows despite suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis for the past four years, a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.

His wife Tiggy has revealed that the radio personality has now become so unwell he has become housebound in a heartbreaking health update.

A trip to Wogan House in London on New Year’s Eve led to Walker becoming so ill he has not left the house since, with Tiggy saying she is her husband’s carer ’24/7.’

‘I expected him to be tired the next day, but something far worse happened. The effort had been too great on his already sick body. It was as if his health fell off a cliff,’ she wrote for Dorset Magazine.

Johnnie was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis four years ago (Picture: Pete Still/Redferns)

Tiggy Walker revealed she is now Johnnie’s carer 24/7 (Picture: Murray Sanders/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock)

What is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis?

According to the NHS, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.

It is unknown what causes the condition, and is usually found in people around the age of 70 to 75.

Treatments are available to help reduce the rate at which the condition gets worse, but there is currently no treatment that can stop or reverse the scarring.

Symptoms of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis include:

Shortness of breath
A persistent dry cough
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Rounded and swollen fingertips (clubbed fingers)

‘The weeks that followed were a blur of nurses, doctors, oxygen machines and wheelchairs. In 24 hours, our lives had changed out of all recognition.

‘That was in January, and The Pirate has not left home since then, I am a carer 24/7.’

She said that her husband now recorded his Radio 2 shows ‘wearing PJ’s, sat in a wheelchair with a nose canula feeding him oxygen.’

Tiggy said she had been shocked by the fact their home was ‘starting to resemble a hospital’ and that she had been ‘overwhelmed’ by how much support he needed.

She previously cared for Johnnie shortly after they tied the knot in 2003 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

‘When you receive the news there is no amount of advice or preparation to prepare you for dealing with it” the 64-year-old said,’ Johnnie told the East London Advertiser.

Johnnie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2003 (Picture: Murray Sanders/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock)

Ten year’s later, Tiggy was diagnosed with breast cancer (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The veteran broadcaster announced his cancer diagnosis to his Radio 2 listeners (Picture: P. Floyd/Daily Express/Getty Images)

‘It occupies every single waking moment and it is on your brain constantly. You think what is going to happen and what is it going to be like.’

Their roles were later reversed when Johnnie cared for Tiggy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

‘The idea of chemotherapy simply horrified me,’ she told the Express, ‘because I’d seen how it devastated Johnnie. For nine months after his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin lymphoma I was needed 100 per cent.’

She continued: ‘Being a carer is far harder than being a cancer patient because you have to stay strong but you’re so incredibly isolated.’

In 2019, Johnnie then underwent a triple heart bypass after suffering a heart attack, before his Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis diagnosis a year later.

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the entertainment team by emailing us, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *