Local music legend Phil Wright found dead: report

27 February 2013 - 11:45 By Times LIVE, Sapa
Former 5FM DJ Phil Wright.
Former 5FM DJ Phil Wright.
Image: Facebook

Former 5FM metal DJ Phil Wright has died, according to reports on social media.

Marq Vas's Southern African Music Collectibles first posted a photo of the former DJ, with the caption: “It’s with utmost deepest regret that within the last hour I have been informed of the passing of my “brother” PHIL WRIGHT - - Phil was found dead in his home this morning, from what we believe at this point in time – from natural causes… Words fail me…

Oppikoppi Festival posted on their Facebook page “Oppikoppi legend Phil Wright has crossed over to the larger herd. We will meet you there Phil, and watch out for the snakes so long.”

DJ Jon Savage tweeted: “Legendary LEGENDARY Rock icon and ex-@5fm jock Phil Wright passed away yesterday. RIP! We love you!”

According to his own online biography, until doing sound engineering for Radio RSA, all Wright had wanted to do was become a vet or a game ranger and he owned many reptiles.

After working at Capital Radio, he got out of radio completely and worked for a special effects company, but missed radio terribly and got into 5FM or Radio 5, as it was known back then, where he got the nickname 'Metalhead' from fellow DJ Barney Simon.

When 5FM changed its strategy, Wright worked at the Transvaal Snake Park, which has since closed down.

Many messages of grief have been pouring in on social networks, with friends and fans remembering Wright fondly.

Woodstock SA said on Facebook: “RIP Phil Wright :'( South Africa lost a true legend! It was a big honor to share the stage with U! U will be missed but never forgotten!”

"He has definitely passed on," friend and former colleague confirmed Leon Economides said.

He said Wright, 55, was last seen by friends on Sunday. He felt poorly and went home.

Economides said these friends tried to contact Wright on Monday but could not get hold of him, so they went to his house on Tuesday, where they heard his dog barking inside.

"They managed to break through the kitchen door and found him in the bathroom."

He said an autopsy still needed to be performed, but it was thought he died due to a heart attack.

"What a loss," Economides said.

"He was just the most amazing person, a very simple, down-to-earth kind of guy... one of the biggest in SA radio."

On Twitter veteran DJ Alex Jay also paid his respects.

"Many yrs (years) ago, angling for a compliment, I asked my wife who had the best voice on radio. She didn't hesitate. 'It's Phil Wright' RIP Phil."

Talk radio 702 host Ray White tweeted: "Fond memories of Phil Wright during my days on 5fm. So sorry to hear the news this morning..."

Fellow 702 host David O'Sullivan also tweeted about Wright's death.

"Sad news that my old Capital Radio colleague Phil Wright has died. He was a complete pro. RIP."