The popular journalist and newsreader George Alagiah has been diagnosed with bowel cancer, numerous sources – including The BBC – have reported. A recently released statement outlines Alagiah’s wishes and how he is to tackle the disease, stressing that he is “optimistic for a positive outcome.”

George Alagiah

“George Alagiah has recently been diagnosed with bowel cancer and will be off air for a while, as he undergoes treatment. He is grateful for all the good wishes he has received thus far and is optimistic for a positive outcome,” reads the statement. 

“George asks that he and his family are given the space and privacy they require whilst he recovers. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we send them our very best wishes during this time.”

Alagiah is one of the BBC’s most experienced journalists. He first joined the corporation in 1989 and was – for many years – the BBC's leading foreign correspondent, reporting on events such as the genocide in Rwanda and the conflict in Kosovo, before turning hand to presenting. 

He has gone on to write a number of books including A Home From Home, which looked at what it means to be British. He has also presented other shows such as Mixed Britannia, looking at the UK's mixed-race population.

“Until such time as George is well enough to return to work the BBC News at Six and GMT on BBC World News will be presented as usual by familiar faces from BBC News. I appreciate it as a former foreign correspondent, having come from the poor world to the rich world, and having spent most of my working life in countries where people wish they had something like the NHS.”