John McCririck has died aged 79.

John McCririck

John McCririck

The former Channel 4 racing pundit has passed away just nine months after revealing he was dying, after he had a chest infection and "a cold all the time".

Roger Easterby, who was a close friend to John for more than 40 years, has led tributes.

He told the Racing Post newspaper: "John was often referred to as being like Marmite, but I believe people genuinely liked him.

"He was kind, generous and knew his subject inside out."

In October, John claimed losing his TV career when he was axed by Channel 4 in 2012, after 28 years, had adversely affected his health, and he predicted he only had months to live.

He said: "What purpose is there in going on if you're not working?

"Racing was my life but now when I go I think: 'What am I doing here?' I feel like a dinosaur. You're a lost soul wandering around an environment you're no longer part of.

"Life is empty. I don't expect to be alive this time next year. It's a question of slipping away.

"I've prepared the Booby [his wife, Jenny] for it. When I'm gone she knows exactly what to do and she'll be fine.

"I'm pining. The broken heart is for a lost job. Work comes first. Put that in capital letters. I always worked. It's the most important thing in life.

"I've had a chest infection and I seem to have a cold all the time but they [the doctors] can't find anything. I wish they could. I've been examined, had blood tests -- all that kind of thing. I'm sure it all started when I was sacked because you get more and more...

"I hope I'm not self-pitying because I don't self-pity, but when you wake up in the morning you just feel miserable. There's no routine. I have 'Jeremy Kyle', 'This Morning' and that's about it."

John - who had lost three stone due to a severe bout of flu last year - is survived by his wife Jenny, who he called The Booby.