Dan Walker shared touching story about Mark Chapman following his wifes tragic death

Dan Walker discusses death of Mark Chapman’s wife in 2020

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Dan Walker and Mark Chapman have been BBC colleagues for years, the pair having struck up a friendship through their work. Mark has been a mainstay of the broadcaster’s sports coverage, mainly football and the NFL. Tonight, he appears on The Chase Celebrity Special alongside newscaster Gillian Joseph, cricketer Ryan Sidebottom and comedian Fred MacAulay.

He will pit his wits with the other celebrities against one of the ruthless Chasers in the hope of winning a potential prize vote worth thousands of pounds for a charity of their choice.

Last year, Mark’s wife, Sara, sadly passed away at the age of 44.

She had suffered with a lengthy bout of cancer.

The pair had been married since 2001 and have three children together.

On hearing the news, Dan led a heartfelt tribute to Mark during his slot on BBC Breakfast in June 2020.

He said: “I think we’d all like to send our love and support to him and his young family.

“I know Mark really well, and last year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

“Straight away, Mark was on the phone saying, ‘Listen, if you need any help, any advice, what to do.’

“He talked about how his wife Sara had been going through the process twice — the cancer had come back to her in 2019.

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“He was so supportive and it must be really hard for him and his young family to go through what they’re going through.

“So, all our love from everybody at BBC Breakfast.”

Dan later took to Twitter and told of how he was “crushed” by the sad news and was thinking of Mark and his family.

Similar to his message on air, he wrote: “When Chappers found out that my dad was diagnosed with cancer last year, he was so kind and thoughtful.

“He was also honest about the effects of cancer on his wife.

“His words and advice were incredibly helpful.

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“Sending all my love to Mark and his young family.”

Other stars offered Mark words of support, like former BBC presenter Simon Thomas.

Simon, whose wife died of leukaemia in 2017, wrote on Twitter: “Thoughts very much with Mark Chapman and his kids tonight.

“Life has dealt them a very tough blow, but have no doubt, given the support he showed me a two-and-a-half, that he’ll hold that family together.”

Piers Morgan also offered his condolences, as well as former referee Mark Clattenburg.

Ex-footballer Trevor Sinclair said: “Condolences Mark Chapman, sorry for your loss.”

Returning to work in July 2020, just a month after Sara’s death, Mark was given an emotional tribute by his colleague at Radio 5 Live, Ian Dennis.

He said: “Mark, I must say, and I know you don’t want a fuss, and I know you don’t want it to be about you, but equally I know how much you are admired and respected, not just from from the rest of our colleagues, but many many listeners and indeed viewers last night on the TV. It’s great to have you back.”

Mark replied: “Thank you for all the messages I have got from people who have listened to our coverage.

“Me and the kids appreciate all the support that you are giving us, it is very kind.”

Mark, 48, replaced Mark Pougatch as the main presenter of 5 Live Sport on Saturday afternoons in 2016.

The Chase Celebrity Special airs at 8:30pm tonight on ITV One.

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