The gay former BBC Radio 1 DJ Kevin Greening has died, his agent said tonight.

The 44 year old died in his sleep last night, although no details relating to the cause of death have been made public.

Greening co-presented Zoe Ball’s breakfast show on Radio 1 between 1997 and 1998. He later worked on Radio 5 Live and Smooth Radio.

A spokesman for Radio 1 said: “We’re very saddened to hear of the death of Kevin and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

BBC Radio 5 Live’s Simon Mayo, who worked with Greening at BBC Radio 1, told the station tonight: “I’m finding it hard to take the whole thing in.

“I only got to know him when he joined Radio 1 but it was quite clear that he was a fantastically bright individual. He had a great brain.

“He had a very, very dry sense of humour and he was quite shy really, sometimes embarrassed about having achieved the level of fame that he did have.

“Anyone who listened to his programmes could tell he was extremely bright, extremely clever. If he had a 40-second voiceover for his first record he would probably put in eight, nine, 10 little funny bits just to get the whole thing going.

“He was a fantastic example as to how much work should go into a programme. He was naturally gifted, and I frankly find it rather hard to believe that he’s not with us any more.”

John Myers, chief executive Smooth Radio parent company GMG said: “We are extremely saddened to learn of the sudden death of Kevin Greening. He was a talented broadcaster and we were privileged to have him as our afternoon presenter at Smooth Radio in London.

“He was passionate about radio and all kinds of music and will be sadly missed not only by his colleagues at Smooth, but by millions of listeners. It’s a terrible loss to broadcasting. Our sympathies are with Kevin’s family and friends at this time.”

BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster Nick Wallis who worked with Greening at the Sony Awards told the BBC: “His job was akin to that of Terry Wogan’s at Eurovision – commentating on the madness unfolding beneath him with wit and charm.”

“Kevin read and ad-libbed his way through a four-hour broadcast with immense professionalism, and it was a delight to see him at work.”

“I enjoyed Kevin’s unassuming manner, generous nature and warm, wry, friendly outlook on life. I’m shocked he’s not going to be here any more.”

Greening, who was openly gay was part of the launch line-up of Virgin Radio in 1993. He transferred to Radio 1 within a year.

He was known for an irreverent style and created a number of fictional characters including a DJ called Raymond Sinclair.