Dale Winton’s death — His illnesses and depression detailed

By Chege Karomo — ON Apr 21, 2022
Dale Winton
Dale Winton attends the wedding of David Walliams and Lara Stone at Claridge’s Hotel In 2010 | Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage

Dale Winton passed away in his London home on 18th April 2018, about a month before his 63rd birthday. Winton was a beloved television presenter whose onscreen career spanned over three decades. His longtime agent, Jan Kennedy, released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm the passing of Dale Winton who died at home earlier today. While we know many will share this terrible loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time of grief.”

Tributes poured in from fans and celebrities, most of whom expressed shock at Dale’s sudden demise. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dale passed away hours after telling his assistant that he wasn’t feeling well. 
  • Like his mother, Dale suffered from depression, but unlike his mother, he didn’t commit suicide. 
  • Winton left his wealth, including his holiday home in Florida, to a BBC boss named Mark Linsey. 
  • As per Dale’s wishes that as many people attend his funeral, Humanist UK released his eulogy to the world. 

Dale Winton died of natural causes and was battling several health problems

Several months after Winton’s death, the coroner revealed that Winton died of natural causes. “The coroner investigating the death of Dale Winton has found death by natural causes,” Jan Kennedy told The Press Association

Dale’s close friend, Gloria Hunniford of Loose Women, detailed the events leading up to Winton’s passing. She said that Dale told his assistant that he wasn’t feeling well as they had coffee at home. 

The television host then went upstairs to shower or have a bath, and when it got too quiet, the assistant went to check on Dale, only to find him dead. Gloria said:

“What actually happened, he had his assistant in the house and she said they had a coffee and a chat and he said to her he’s not feeling great. He went upstairs to have a bath or a shower, she thought it was quiet, she went upstairs in half an hour’s time and sadly found him dead in bed.”

Hunniford added that Winton was battling a variety of health problems. “He had pain with arthritis, he had a heart complaint, he had a chest infection, and we all know how the winter affected that,” she added. “He had asthma as well.”

Before Dale’s death, some reports stated that Winton was ‘struggling’ with aging. Winton did address his health problems, saying that they forced him to keep a low profile in his later years. 

“I’ve kept a low profile because I had about four surgeries,” Dale told The TV Times. “I had a shoulder problem and a knee problem, so I took a break to get myself sorted. It meant I couldn’t exercise, so I’ve been dieting like crazy, but then when I was asked to do this show I thought it would be fun.”

Winton suffered from depression, but he didn’t commit suicide

Gloria Hunniford talked about Dale’s death to dispel the widespread notion that he’d committed suicide. “It’s really upset me in the intervening times, so many people say to me, ‘It’s so dad that he killed himself.’ He never would have done that,” Gloria said. 

Dale opened up about his secret battle with depression during a 2016 appearance on Loose Women. He told the panel that he should have taken a break from television to deal with his mental health issues, but he didn’t. 

“There are worse things in the world, but I had health issues and I had the depression and I didn’t realize,” Winton said. “I always thought, get over yourself… I should have known, my mom died from it.”

Winton’s parents divorced when he was ten years old, and his father passed away three years later. A few days after his 21st birthday, he found his mother, Sheree Winton, dead at her home, having committed suicide. “I was heartbroken,” Dale wrote in his autobiography.

Dale Winton’s parents, Sheree and his dad Gary

Dale said on Loose Women that his depression stemmed from a nasty breakup. Marc Collins, Dale’s neighbor, told The Sun that a younger guy Winton cared for broke up with him after he used Dale to meet Elton John. Collins said:

“The guy said that he wanted to meet Elton John, so Dale arranged a meeting. He flew the guy to London and they had lunch with Elton. When they came back he kind of dumped him. He just said ‘goodbye Dale’. Dale went into a tailspin on that one. That was a couple of years ago. He was really upset.”

Winton said he didn’t want to leave the house after the relationship crumbled. “I wanted to withdraw… If you’ve never had it, you’ll never understand it,” he said. 

The coroner’s report confirmed that Winton didn’t take his life. However, it doesn’t mean that he hadn’t thought about it. Dale’s longtime friend Steve Allen said Dale often dropped hints about suicide. Allen said:

“He used to say to me ‘I’ve had enough’ and I used to say ‘Oh, you’ve got loads of things.’ I feel happy for him that he’s in a place now where he’s probably going to be eternally young. He won’t age anymore.”

Dale left his over 2-million-pound fortune to his boss at the BBC

Few people would leave their fortune to their bosses. Dale, however, left his over 2-million-pound treasure to his boss at the BBC, Mark Linsey. Mark, the then-Chief Creative Officer for the BBC, oversaw shows such as Top Gear and The Apprentice

Winton and Linsey shared a close bond. The television host was godfather to Mark’s three children. 

Dale bequeathed his entire fortune to Linsey, including his holiday home in Sarasota, Florida. The probate registry concluded that Dale’s left £2.22 million, which fell to £2.16 million after the settling of his affairs. 

The massive bequest dispelled rumors that Dale was experiencing financial troubles. Three weeks before his death, Dale sold his central London townhouse for £2.6 million and moved to a private suburban semi that he rented for £3,000 a month.

Winton had close relationships with many figures in the entertainment industry, some of whom he fancied romantically. 

Dale came out as gay via his 2002 autobiography. Six years later, Winton revealed that he hadn’t come out earlier because nobody had asked about his sexuality. 

“There’s one particular person, a married TV celeb, who I adore,” Winton once said. “I know I could make them happy, but we are destined to stay the best of friends, and that kills me inside.”

“I think they know how I feel about them, and their other half definitely suspects something, but sadly my love is unrequited,” Dale mused. Many believed that Dale’s secret love was English comedian David Baddiel.

Winton wanted as many people as possible to attend his funeral

Steve Allen, Winton’s close friend, said on his LBC show that Dale often worried about the turnout at his funeral. 

“This is what he was worried about, the funeral. We had this chat for many many years and he said “are they going to turn up to the funeral?’” Allen said. “I should bloody think so, of course they will. He met a lot of people and you never forgot him once you met him.”

Per Dale’s wishes, his funeral followed humanist ideals: it ignored the religious elements present in most funerals. Humanist UK released a statement saying:

“We’re very proud to be giving the humanist funeral of a national treasure, Dale Winton. He was loved so much and by so many – and his loved ones will be celebrating the life he led and the positive impact he had on their lives.”

Mourners including David Walliams attending the Memorial service for Dale Winton at the Old Church on May 22, 2018 | Mark R. Milan/GC Images

Celebrities including David Williams, Christopher Biggins, and Steve Allen attended the service in central London on what would have been Winton’s 63rd birthday. The funeral featured performances from boyband Blue and Martine McCutcheon. 

In honor of Dale’s wish that as many people as possible attend his final farewell, Humanist UK released his eulogy to the world. It read in part:

“Even to those who hardly knew him, Dale Winton was a bringer of joy. He connected with people of all types and all ages, all over the English-speaking world, communicating a flirtatious yet fundamentally innocent love of life – and laughter. It is hard to say the name, or even think of him, without smiling.”

Dale’s remains were interred at Golders Green Crematorium alongside his mother. A source told The Daily Star that Winton was ‘buried in the Southern garden to be with his mum.’ His friends later enjoyed lunch at one of Winton’s favorite restaurants, The Ivy. 

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