Veteran British disc jockey and broadcaster John Peel has died of a heart attack while vacationing in Peru, his employer the BBC and the British embassy say. He was 65.

Veteran British disc jockey and broadcaster John Peel has died of a heart attack while vacationing in Peru, his employer the BBC and the British embassy say. He was 65.

The BBC in London said today (Oct. 26) that Peel was on a working holiday in the ancient Incan city of Cuzco with his wife, Sheila. The broadcaster had no other comment.

Peel, born in 1939, was one of the country's original pirate radio disc jockeys in the 1960s, broadcasting from ships anchored just outside British waters that won huge followings. Peel was his assumed "pirate" name.

In the late 1970s, he championed punk rock to the consternation of many of his radio contemporaries, who were still playing rock supergroups and were convinced the new music fad would never have any real impact.

Peel -- an authority on independent music -- was honored with an Order of the British Empire.

-- Reuters