Wildlife presenter Johnny Kingdom killed by digger

Image caption,
"A legend has been lost," Johnny Kingdom's family said in a statement

Wildlife television presenter Johnny Kingdom has been killed in an accident involving a digger on his land.

The film-maker, photographer and author, who specialised in his local area of Exmoor and north Devon, died on Thursday night.

Police confirmed emergency services were called to a field near Wadham Cross in Knowstone, Devon, to reports that a digger had rolled over.

The 79-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.

His family requested privacy, but issued a short statement which said: "Unfortunately a legend has been lost.

"Johnny would want you all to continue with his love for Exmoor as you all meant so much to him.

"As the loving man himself would have said 'Farewell to all you lovely people'."

Mr Kingdom was born and bred on the edge of Exmoor and worked as a gravedigger, a quarryman and a lumberjack until an accident whilst out logging.

He then began making wildlife films and in 2006 his first series on BBC 2, A Year On Exmoor, was watched by more than three million people.

BBC Countryfile presenter, Richard Taylor-Jones has paid tribute to his "wonderful, magical" friend on social media.

Tributes have been paid by fellow TV wildlife presenter, Nick Baker, who said Johnny was a "gravedigger" when he met him.

He said: "Every country boy likes nature, that's our playground.

"We bonded over that side of things but he was just an amazing character.

"He really was part of Devon and it's going to be a much quieter and less interesting place without him."

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