ITV Sport’s technical director has died while heading the channel’s World Cup coverage in Qatar, the channel has said.
The death of Roger Pearce, who has been part of ITV’s major sports event team since the 1988 Olympics, was announced on air by sports presenter Mark Pougatch.
He said: “We have some very sad news to bring you from here in Qatar.
“Our technical director, Roger Pearce, who was here embarking on his eighth World Cup has sadly passed away.
“Roger and his team are the brilliant people who bring you the pictures into your homes and make it all happen.
“Roger was a hugely respected figure in the TV sport broadcasting industry, for ITV he has been instrumental in the logistical planning and delivery of rugby world cups as well as the football world cups as well as the Euros.
“He always had a smile on his face and left a smile on your faces.
“He was utterly dedicated, professional, charming and hugely popular.
“He will be missed by so many people inside the industry and at home.”
Friend Neil Stainsby, a TV studio director, posted on Twitter that Mr Pearce had been set to retire in five weeks’ time.
He wrote: “So sad to hear of the passing of my friend and former colleague at ITV Meridian, Roger Pearce. He died on his last assignment in Qatar before retirement in 5 weeks time. RIP Roger.”
Mr Pearce started his career as an engineer at Grampian TV and worked in other ITV regions such as TVS and Meridian before joining ITV network sport full time in 2001 and becoming its technical director in 2008.