I suppose it’s because you start to question your own mortality when icons from your younger days start shuffle off, particularly when it’s from natural causes.
One thing I will remember about him is that he was a stickler for the language. I have on tape somewhere him berating some poor presenter about the pronunciation of the word “strength” — you had to be there.
Speaking of good use of language, if you read one thing today let it be A false flash of dawn at the grammarians’ funeral by Christopher Howse in today’s Daily Telegraph. You’ll have to register, but it’s free.