Friends and colleagues have led tributes to Today FM presenter Tony Fenton who has died aged 53.

He had been battling prostate cancer since 2010.

Mr Fenton, from Glasnevin in Dublin, spent 18 years working at RTÉ's 2fm.

He left the station in 2003 and joined Today FM in 2004 where he anchored an afternoon music programme. 

His long-time friend and colleague Ian Dempsey said: "I just cannot believe it. He was a fantastic friend of mine." 

RTÉ Radio 1 presenter Ray D'Arcy paid tribute saying "I knew Tony for over 25 years. We use the word legend an awful lot but Tony was a true legend.

"He was the real deal. A real DJ, a real disc jockey."

Minister for Communications Alex White said: "I was saddened to learn today of the passing of my friend and former colleague. I've known Tony since the mid-1980s when we worked together in RTÉ. He was a gentleman and a true professional.

"Tony was the voice of a generation and the world of radio will miss his good humour, professionalism and distinctive voice.”

Head of Today FM Peter McPartlin described Mr Fenton as a "leading light".

He said receiving the Hall of Fame PPI award last October was "like winning the World Cup" for Tony. 

Mr Fenton had one of the most distinctive voices on music radio. The archetypal disc jockey, he loved music and broadcasting.

In turn, his larger than life on-air persona was much loved by generations of listeners on 2fm and Today FM.

Mr Fenton began broadcasting in the late 1970s and went on to spend almost two decades at RTE, best remembered for shows including Hotline and the Top 30 chart show.

Today FM said in a statement: "For over 30 years Tony lit up the airwaves and was one of Ireland's most admired and respected radio hosts, unmatched in his knowledge of and passion for music.

"Tony inspired his colleagues and listeners with his positivity, and his velvety-smooth voice was one of the most recognisable on air.

"A giant in Irish radio, Tony interviewed all the big names in music from Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher and Jessie J to Al Green, Carly Simon and Tinie Tempah.

"Tony, from all your friends and colleagues in Today FM: we'll miss you dearly, dude".

Managing Director of RTÉ Radio Jim Jennings also paid tribute to the DJ, saying: "Tony was always larger than life and an ultimate showman.

"He was at his happiest when he was in studio and when that red light went on.

"We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Tony's family, friends and colleagues.  He is a big loss to Irish broadcasting and will be greatly missed."

More on Tony Fenton's life and career.

Chairman of the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland John Purcell said Mr Fenton had been "a consistent voice on Irish radio since he first graced the airwaves in 1979".

He said a "great voice has been lost to Irish radio and the entire industry is deeply saddened".