Sir David Frost, the veteran television host, author and producer, has died at the age of 74 following a heart attack.
The only person to have interviewed the last seven presidents of the U.S. and the last six prime ministers of the U.K., Frost had been with Al Jazeera English since its launch in 2006.
"Sir David died of a heart attack last night aboard the Queen Elizabeth, which is a Cunard [cruise] liner where he was giving a speech. His family are devastated and ask for privacy at this difficult time," the Frost family said in a statement read on BBC television on Sunday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron immediately paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing that "My heart goes out to David Frost's family. He could be -- and certainly was with me -- both a friend and a fearsome interviewer.”
Frost is well known for his interviews with former U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1977, during which Nixon apologized for the Watergate scandal when his Republican party staff bugged the offices of Democrats.
He has been awarded all the major television awards -- two Emmy Awards for “The David Frost Show,” the U.K.’s Royal Television Society Silver Medal and the Richard Dimbleby Award, and the Golden Rose of Montreux.
In 2005, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded Frost with the BAFTA Fellowship, its highest honor. He was also honored by New York's Museum of the Moving Image 1998 and the Museum of Broadcasting, also in New York, in 1999.
Born in 1939, Frost was part of the Cambridge Footlights, a theatrical club, while he was in college. He first made his name with BBC television's satirical “That Was the Week That Was (TW3)” in the early 1960s.
He went on to report for a string of topical review programs, including “The Frost Report,” where he first used the phrase "Hello, good evening and welcome.”
Frost was later a co-founder and host of the U.K. breakfast television station TV-am in 1983, and hosted 500 editions of the Sunday morning interview program “Breakfast with Frost” for the BBC.
Al Jazeera and wire services