ONE of Dianne Oxberry's devastated colleagues has paid an emotional tribute to the broadcaster live on air.

The BBC North West Tonight weather presenter died at Manchester's Christie Hospital on Thursday following a short illness.

Fellow weather presenter Simon King choked up as he told Radio 5 Live how her death, aged 51, had come as a shock.

"It's devastating, absolutely devastating. It's been such a quick process, this whole thing," he told the station's breakfast show.

"It's hit us like a ton of bricks, it really has. "

Presenter Rachel Burden then asked him: "Are you OK to do the weather?"

"Yes," he replied, his voice breaking, before saying: "So, excuse me," and going on to regain his composure and present the forecast.

Co-host Nicky Campbell told him afterwards: "You did her proud Si."

Burden said she got to know Oxberry in the last couple of years "as part of the BBC Women's Network and she was an incredible support and a great champion for her female colleagues here at the BBC".

"I can't tell you the impact she made in talking to other people and supporting them in their own personal journeys," she said.

"She was a really loyal and very generous colleague to people here."

Campbell described Oxberry as a "wonderful person, sweet and warm woman".

He added: "She kept it real. She was so genuine on the air. There was no affectation at all.

"The best broadcasters, something we all aspire to, is to be exactly what you are on the screen and off the screen and on the radio and off the radio and she did that brilliantly."

Broadcasters Dan Walker, Simon Mayo and Jane Garvey are among those who have also paid tribute to the "amazing" Oxberry.

The mother of two young children, she worked alongside Simon Mayo and Steve Wright on Radio 1 before moving to North West Tonight in 1994.

A clip of BBC North West's "favourite moments" of the weather presenter shows Oxberry getting a hug from Bolton comic Peter Kay after he interrupts her broadcast and tells her: "You've made it sunshine, for everybody."

She remained with North West Tonight until her death and was last on-air in mid-December.

BBC Breakfast host Walker wrote on Twitter: "This is incredibly sad. What an amazing woman Dianne was and such a professional broadcaster. Devastating news for her family. Heartbreaking.

"What a special person Dianne Oxberry was. I was privileged enough to work with her on @BBCNWT and she was as loved and admired in the office as she was by the viewers. Whenever you were on location everyone would tell you how much they enjoyed watching Dianne. Such sad news."