Comedian and actor Billy Connolly, a British treasure, has undergone successful surgery for prostate cancer though has now been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. 

The 70-year-old, who famously began his working life as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards before quitting to become a folk singer, will now begin treatment for the degenerative disease.

"Billy Connolly recently underwent minor surgery in America after being diagnosed with the very early stages of prostate cancer," his spokeswoman told BBC News, "In addition, Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson's disease, for which he is receiving the appropriate treatment."

After gaining early success as a musician, Billy turned to stand-up and became one of the best loved Scottish stand-ups of all time. He has also starred in numerous movies, including the Oscar-nominated Mrs Brown, the Oscar-winning Brave and Dustin Hoffman's hugely well-received directorial debut Quartet

Connolly's spokesman confirmed that the star would continue to work throughout the treatment.

"Billy has been assured by experts that the findings will in no way inhibit or affect his ability to work, and he will start filming a TV series in the near future, as well as undertaking an extensive theatrical tour of New Zealand in the new year," she said.

The entertainer, who also starred in the second part of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit franchise, explained how he wanted to stay young at heart during an interview earlier this year. "Stay young. Me? I'm 37! I haven't changed my attitude to things since I was 37," he joked.

An appearance on Michael Parkinson's chat show in the 1970s helped catapult Connolly to national fame. He maintains that the appearance changed his life and went on to return 12 times. In 1987, he performed six nights in a row at the Royal Albert Hall in London - an unprecedented feat for comedians at the time - and a style of touring only copied almost two decades later by the likes of Lee Evans. 

Watch Billy Connolly telling one of his famous anecdotes:

Connolly has been married twice and has five children. His second wife is the writer, actress and broadcaster Pamela Stevenson. 

As we reported earlier this month, the comedian put his Scottish mansion Candacraig House in Aberdeenshire up for sale for the relatively modest price of $2 million. The property is so big, Connolly has to pay council tax on three separate dwellings.

We here at send Billy the best wishes for his on-going battle against cancer and treatment for Parkinson's disease. 

Billy ConnollyBilly Connolly Has Been One Of The Best Loved British Comedians For Years