Steve Becker, pictured left, a senior broadcast journalist with BBC Radio Lancashire, died suddenly yesterday morning after being taken ill on the M6 near Preston.
Steve, who was 56 and lived in Chorley, was on his way to Blackpool to cover a fracking hearing for the radio station.
Three lanes of the northbound carriageway had to be shut while police and paramedics dealt with what was described at the time as a “medical” incident, which caused tailbacks on both the M6 and the M61. No other vehicles were involved.
She later tweeted: “Absolutely tragic news, many condolences to Steve’s family and colleagues.”
LEP editor Gillian Parkinson posted on the social networking site that she was “shocked and saddened” to hear of Steve’s death.
“Steve was a truly dedicated, dogged and hugely knowledgeable journalist and a extremely talented broadcaster. He was a wonderful advocate for Blackpool and the Fylde coast and above everything he was a terrific guy, a real gentleman.
“There are many journalists in the North West – none more so than at BBC Radio Lancashire and here in Blackpool – who have lost a true friend. My sympathy to his family, colleagues and many many friends.”
Steve joined the BBC in August 1983 and moved to BBC Radio Lancashire in July 1988.
In 2013, he was awarded silver in the journalist of the year category at the BBC Local Radio Awards.
John Clayton, managing editor at Radio Lancashire, said: “Everyone at the station is utterly shocked and deeply saddened by Steve’s sudden death and our thoughts are with his wife Kath and his kids.
“Steve was our Blackpool and Fylde coast reporter. He was a dedicated and compassionate journalist who commanded the respect of his colleagues, our listeners and the whole Lancashire community.
“In the last few years, he had immersed himself in the issue of fracking and was committed to bringing our listeners the very best coverage of a story that directly affects so many of their lives and also attracts national headlines.
“We are all heartbroken at the sudden death of such a valued colleague and friend, who has worked here for so long.”