Veteran British-Sri Lankan news presenter George Alagiah will go off-air as he undergoes treatment for bowel cancer, the BBC has revealed.
The 58-year-old thanked well wishers as a host of journalists and celebrities expressed support on Twitter on Thursday and said that his family were “optimistic for a positive outcome”.
Mr Alagiah is the longest serving presenter of News at Six on the BBC having anchored the program since December 2007.
“Our thoughts are with him and his family and we send them our very best wishes during this time,” said the BBC in a statement.
Alagiah was born to Sri Lankan Tamil parents in Colombo before the family moved to Ghana.
The young Alagiah later moved to Britain, getting his secondary education at a boarding school before reading politics at Durham University where he edited the student newspaper.
Alagiah joined the BBC in the late 1980’s, working as the Developing World correspondent as well as correspondent for Southern Africa.
Alagiah is perhaps most famous for reporting from the ground in southern Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami.