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How did Ray Cordeiro die? 'The most durable radio DJ' with a career spanning over 70 years dead at 98

Ray Cordeiro or 'Uncle Ray' was the world’s longest-working DJ and a fixture of the music scene in Hong Kong
Uncle Ray, world’s longest-working DJ and a staple of the Hong Kong music scene, died at the age of 98 (Ray Cordeiro/Facebook)
Uncle Ray, world’s longest-working DJ and a staple of the Hong Kong music scene, died at the age of 98 (Ray Cordeiro/Facebook)

SHA TIN, HONG KONG: Ray Cordeiro, famously known as "Uncle Ray", died on Friday January 13, at the age of 98. He was the world’s longest-working DJ, with a broadcasting career that spanned over seven decades. Cordeiro died at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, his funeral committee announced on Saturday, January 14. The cause of death was not disclosed but the committee said that Cordeiro's friends and family bade him farewell with a version of 'You’ll Never Walk Alone'.

In 2000, Cordeiro earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records, according to the South China Morning Post, as the most durable radio DJ. The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard were in the list of his most notable interviews and he was even recognized by Elvis Presley Enterprises for his contribution. Cordeiro's show, 'All the Way with Ray', ran for 51 years until his retirement in 2021. In 2022, Cordeiro was honored with Hong Kong’s Silver Bauhinia Star. Other prominent honors received by him include an MBE awarded to him by Queen Elizabeth in 1987, an Honorary Fellowship from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in 2012 and an Honorary Doctorate of Social Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2022. Broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) presented Cordeiro with a lifetime achievement award in 1997.


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How did Ray Cordeiro die?

According to Variety, Raimundo Maria Cordeiro was born on December 12, 1924 and was one of six siblings. Before beginning his broadcasting career in 1949 at Radio Rediffusion, Cordeiro worked as a prison warden and a bank clerk. At the age of 25, he began as a script writer at Radio Rediffusion, and hosted his first radio show, 'Progressive Jazz.' By 1960, he was appointed as the head of light music at Radio Hong Kong, which later became RTHK. 

RTHK, where the former DJ worked, reportedly announced, "Former RTHK DJ and 'Godfather of Music' in Hong Kong Ray Cordeiro died on Friday at the age of 98. Director of Broadcasting Eddie Cheung expressed his deep sorrow over Uncle Ray’s passing and extended his condolences to his friends and family. He also commended his invaluable lifelong contribution to the broadcasting and music industries."

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Algernon Yau, was saddened by the news and in a press release on January 14, said,  “Dr Cordeiro (Uncle Ray) made significant contributions to the broadcasting industry in the past 70 years and was held in high regard in the sector. He was the host of the longest-running radio program in Hong Kong, ‘All the Way with Ray’, with great success. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr Cordeiro for his lifelong contributions to the broadcasting industry,and extend my deepest condolences to his family. We will fondly remember him”

Kevin Yeung, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, also extended his deepest condolences to the family of the deceased in a press release. He said, “Uncle Ray guided us in appreciating music with his sound professional skills, broad experience and friendly voice over many decades. He was a prominent figure in Hong Kong popular culture and our kind senior, making considerable contributions to the Hong Kong music scene. We are saddened by his passing and he will be remembered fondly,”