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Ray Cordeiro, ‘Uncle Ray,’ World’s Most Durable DJ, Dies at 98

ray cordeiro
Dickson Lee/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

Ray Cordeiro, a fixture of the music scene in Hong Kong for some seven decades, died on Friday, age 98.

His funeral committee said on Saturday local time that Cordeiro, full name Raimundo Maria Cordeiro, but much better known as “Uncle Ray,” died on Friday at the CUHK Medical Centre in Hong Kong. The cause of death was not disclosed, but the committee said that friends and family sent him off with a version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Born on Dec. 12, 1924, Cordeiro had stints as a prison warder and a bank clerk, before beginning his broadcasting career in 1949 at Radio Rediffusion. By 1960, he was appointed head of light music at Radio Hong Kong, which later became today’s RTHK. Cordeiro continued as a presenter at RTHK until 2021.

As far back as 2000, he way picked up a Guinness Record as the world’s most durable DJ. His “All the Way with Ray” show on RTHK ran largely unbroken from 1970 until May 2021.

His early interviews with The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard were notable, and he was recognized by Elvis Presley Enterprises for his contribution – in latter years, the three-hour, late-night “All the Way” show would invariably begin with an Elvis track.

Cordeiro was honored with Hong Kong’s Silver Bauhinia Star last year. Other honors included an MBE 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. RTHK presented Cordeiro with a lifetime achievement award in 1997.

“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,” said Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Algernon Yau.

“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,” said Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kevin Yeung.