He had worked for the BBC for over 25 years, primarily on Football and Rugby League on Radio 5 live.
After a career starting since 1986 he went freelance last year. He covered three football World Cups, three Rugby League World Cups and two Commonwealth Games. In 2012, he reported on his first Olympic Games for BBC TV and commentated on the shooting events in London including Peter Wilson’s gold medal for Britain in the double trap discipline.
Oates also commentated on the horror events from 12 months ago when Fabrice Muamba collapsed with a Heart Attack for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham in the FA Cup for BBC Radio 5 Live.
Richard Burgess, head of radio sport, said: “Everyone at BBC Radio Sport is in shock at this terrible news. David was a trusted and much-loved colleague who provided many years of loyal service to the BBC. His enthusiasm for commentating and reporting on football and rugby league was boundless – we will all remember with great affection his love of Blackpool FC in particular. To lose him at such a relatively young age is a tragedy.”
“Our thoughts are with his wife Charlotte and daughters Imogen and Kate at this desperately sad time”
Jonathan Wall, acting controller of BBC Radio 5 live, said: “No-one ever had a bad word to say about David.”
“I will remember the quality of his commentary as the Muamba story unfolded, his great skill as rugby league commentator, but most of all his love of Blackpool FC and the Blackpool songs he used to sing in the office.”
[Written by Callum Patterson]