Veteran sports broadcaster David Vine has died of a heart attack aged 73.

Vine fronted a huge list of shows, including It's A Knock Out, Miss World, the Eurovision Song Contest, Wimbledon, Match Of The Day, Grandstand and the Olympics. He also hosted A Question Of Sport and Ski Sunday.

Vine, who celebrated his birthday earlier this month, died last night at his home near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

He had triple heart by-pass surgery several years ago.

His publicist Paul Madeley said that since Vine's retirement he remained working as a consultant for the BBC.

He described Vine as ‘a true and utter gentleman at all times.

‘I don't know of anybody who is regarded as he was in terms of his professionalism and dedication, whether he was presenting or commentating.’

Vine, who was from Devon, worked on various newspapers as well as for ITV and the BBC.

With his knack for improvisation, Vine spent a quarter of a century working on the major snooker tournaments.

According to the BBC, 18 million people watched as ‘Viney’ waited until the early hours of the morning to interview Dennis Taylor after his epic win against Steve Davis in 1985.

Vine tackled John McEnroe after an outburst at Wimbledon, asking him: ‘What right have you got to call anyone an incompetent fool?’

Vine told the BBC: ‘He told me he'd never talk to me again after that but he did the following day.’

According to Mr Madeley, in more recent years Vine had been a possible contender to commentate on Dancing On Ice, but he decided that ‘quite a lot of time was required’.

He leaves behind three children from his first marriage - Kim, Martin and Katherine.

His first wife died and he married again in 1972 and they had a son named Christian.

Mr Madeley, who had represented Vine for nearly 20 years, said he had a lengthy conversation with him at his recent birthday celebrations.

He said his health had not been good in recent times, as he had had a hip replacement as well as the heart surgery.

Mr Madeley said of the hip replacement: ‘That was successful, but not 100%. It was something that was getting there.’

Vine's last big job for the BBC before he retired was covering the weightlifting for the 2000 Olympics.

Announcing his retirement from presenting 40 years of television sport, Vine said: ‘I've got to go some time, and now is the right time.’

While Vine's expertise was still drawn upon in his retirement, he also kept himself busy designing and renovating, Mr Madeley said.

‘He was the face and voice of Ski Sunday, of course, but also brought among others snooker, show-jumping, A Question Of Sport, Superstars and Olympic sports to millions of viewers. They and we will remember him with great affection.’