Ruth Langsford, 59, announced her sister Julia Johnson has passed away aged 62
Ruth Langsford has taken time off from her presenting duties on ITV’s This Morning after being left ‘heartbroken’ by the death of her sister at the age of 62.
Julia Johnson was found dead at her bungalow home in the Surrey village of Lingfield, where she lived with her husband Paul and daughter Katie, 35, after suffering from a long illness.
Langsford, 59, will now take a step back from her TV presenting duties, including This Morning, which she hosts on Fridays with her husband Eamonn Holmes, as well as sometimes covering for Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
Langsford, who is also an anchor on lunchtime ITV programme Loose Women, had been due to present This Morning today, but Rylan Clark-Neal will cover her and host the show alongside Holmes, who will still be on air.
Posting a picture with her sister yesterday, Langsford tweeted: ‘My lovely sis Julia has sadly died after a very long illness. My heart is completely broken.
‘She was the kindest and most gentle soul and I will miss her forever. As I am sure you will appreciate I need to take time to grieve with my family.’
‘My heart is completely broken’: Ruth Langsford announced her sister Julia has passed away aged 62 after battling a ‘very long illness’ via her Twitter page on Thursday afternoon
Mrs Johnson (centre), who was three years older than Ruth (left, pictured with their mother, centre), was a landscape gardener and lived with her husband Paul and daughter Katie
Many of Langsford’s colleagues and friends shared their condolences, including TV star Kate Thornton, who wrote on Instagram: ‘Oh Ruth, I’m so sorry to hear that. Thoughts are with you and sending all my love x.’
Gemma Atkinson, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing alongside Langsford in 2017, tweeted: ‘I’m so sorry Ruth. Sending lots of love to you all.’
TV presenter Melanie Sykes posted: ‘Oh Ruth I’m so sorry x sending you so much love.’
Speaking in 2010 about their close friendship, the sisters revealed Mrs Johnson had suffered from depression.
Ruth Langsford on ITV’s This Morning on May 16 with co-host and husband Eamonn Holmes
‘In adult life I have suffered from depression, especially when I hit my fifties’, Mrs Johnson, who was a landscape gardener, said.
‘I’m learning to deal with it now, but Ruth has been really supportive. I’d phone her in tears and go and stay with her.
‘She encourages me to have more confidence in myself and when I’m trying to do too much, she has taught me to say no and look after myself a bit more. She’s the best sister anyone could have.’
Miss Langsford, who has one son, Jack, 17, said she tried to help her sister but there was ‘no quick fix’.
Julia (far left) and Ruth (centre left) are seen with their mother (centre right) in December 2018
The presenter last posted about her sister on social media three weeks ago, as she revealed they had taken their mother (above), aged 87, to Chauffeur’s Flat garden in Tandridge, Surrey
‘She has suffered from depression for some time’, the star explained. ‘She’s so much better now, but the feeling still comes and goes, seemingly for no reason.
‘I have tried to be as understanding and helpful as I can. What’s needed is time, simply to be there and to listen, so I feel bad when Julia has called me to talk and I’ve had to rush off somewhere.
‘I worry sometimes about the way I handle her down days, but I am a very positive person so I will try to chivvy her up when she’s gloomy.
‘Instead of saying, ‘Oh I know, how awful!’, I’ll go, ‘Right have you tried this or that,’ or tell her to go to her doctor right away.
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‘I’m sure that sometimes I can seem a controlling and bossy younger sister, but it’s only because I love her.
‘Whatever the problem is, I want to fix it, and sometimes there’s no quick fix.
‘I don’t think she would want my life. Julia is quite shy, modest and not terribly confident. In reality she is a very attractive, talented, clever woman, but she just doesn’t see it.’
As young girls, they travelled the world as their father was in the military.
Emmerdale actress and former Strictly Come Dancing co-star, Gemma Atkinson, put: ‘I’m so sorry Ruth [upset emoji] Sending lots of love to you all ❤️❤️.’
When Mrs Johnson was eight, she was sent to live with her godparents so she could attend school in the UK, but the sisters were reunited three years later and attended boarding school together at the Royal Forces Daughters School.
‘I didn’t enjoy it, but Ruth was happier’, she explained. ‘She was much more of a rebel than me so she didn’t get as homesick.
‘We didn’t really see much of our parents during our school years – apart from holidays – and I think that affected me more than it did Ruth.’
An ITV spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts and condolences are with Ruth and her family at this incredibly sad time. As Ruth has said she is taking time to grieve and she has our full support.’