I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news: in a bicycle shop in Oxford, with the radio playing. The newsreader described him as 'the quintessential Doctor Who', and while he may not have been everyone's, he is certainly mine.
I first discovered him on the covers and in the pages of the Target novels, and he was my favourite Doctor years before I got to see him on the small screen. This was probably the start of a lifelong weakness for prematurely grey hair, aquiline noses, and that particular combination of gentleness, humour and ass-kicking ability found also in e.g. Timothy Dalton's James Bond and Scott Bakula's Sam Beckett.
He's given me so much pleasure over the years - and that's without adding in his turns as Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark, and as Spotty in Superted. Here’s a nice article celebrating his career.
I present to you one of my most treasured possessions, signed on a Doctor Who Day at Longleat in the mid-90s. I was so overwhelmed at being in the presence of my hero that I could barely say my own name. Jon was as charming, and as handsome, as I had always imagined him.