George Alagiah Wiki – George Alagiah Biography

BBC news presenter George Alagiah died today aged 67 after a nine-year battle with colon cancer. The widely respected broadcaster, who joined the BBC in 1989 and had been the face of News At Six since 2007, passed away “peacefully” surrounded by his family. BBC Director General Tim Davie paid tributes today, calling him “one of the bravest and best journalists of his generation”.

George Alagiah family

It was there that he met his wife Frances Robathan. The couple married in 1984 and share two sons, Adam and Matthew. Alagiah, who is survived by his wife, Frances Robathan, and their two sons, Adam and Matt, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in April 2014 before finishing treatment in October 2015 and returning to the screens a month later. His health made headlines again in March 2020 when he tested positive for Covid. Alagiah returned to duty in April 2022 before departing again in October after revealing that the cancer had spread to his lungs and lymph nodes.

Alagiah had campaigned to raise awareness about colon cancer and in May he shared a tweet urging people to access free screening kits. “I wish I had access to one of these kits when I was first diagnosed nine years ago,” he wrote. The Sri Lankan-born journalist endured two rounds of chemotherapy and several operations, including the removal of most of his liver.


In a statement released today, his agent, Mary Greenham, said: “It is with great regret that I inform you that George Alagiah died peacefully today, surrounded by his family and loved ones. ‘George fought to the bitter end, but sadly that battle ended today. “George was deeply loved by everyone who knew him, whether he was a friend, a colleague or a member of the public.

“He was just a wonderful human being. “My thoughts are with Fran, the children and her family in general.” BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “At the BBC we are all incredibly saddened to hear the news about George. We are thinking of his family at this time.

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‘George was one of the best and bravest journalists of his generation who fearlessly reported from around the world and delivered the news flawlessly. “He was more than a prominent journalist, the public could feel his kindness, empathy and wonderful humanity from him. He was loved by all and will be greatly missed.’ Nick Robinson, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, paid tribute saying: ‘George was a brilliant journalist, a charming man and an inspiring example to all those battling serious illness. His friends will miss him dearly.


Broadcaster John Simpson said, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a kinder, more insightful and braver friend and colleague.” “I loved having his company at the BBC World Affairs Unit, and his progress after that was a joy to watch.” Former BBC correspondent Jon Sopel added: “Tributes will be paid to a fantastic journalist and a brilliant broadcaster, but George was the most decent, principled, kindest and most honorable man I’ve ever worked with.” What a waste.’

Labor leader Keir Starmer said he was “deeply saddened” by the news of Alagiah’s death. He said: ‘A beloved face of BBC News for decades, George will also be remembered for his brilliant and intrepid journalism as a foreign correspondent. He rightfully won awards for his evocative and boundary-pushing reporting. British journalism has lost a talent. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

A popular and reassuring presence behind a BBC News desk for over 20 years, Alagiah’s unflappable demeanor made him a hit with viewers. He joined the corporation in 1989 and was one of the station’s top foreign correspondents, presenting dispatches on topics ranging from the Rwandan genocide to civil wars in Africa.


George Alagiah Biography

Alagiah was born in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in 1955, when the city was still considered part of the former British territory of Ceylon. During the BBC’s coverage of the 2004 Asian tsunami, he returned to the country to discover that his grandfather’s old house had been destroyed in the natural disaster. Alagiah was forced to take a break from television following his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014 and shared updates as he battled the disease, including in June 2020 when he revealed that it had spread to his lungs.

The journalist spent part of his childhood in Ghana, in West Africa, where he moved with his father, an engineer, Donald, and his mother, Therese. He moved to the UK to attend secondary school in Portsmouth, after which he studied politics at Durham University. During his studies at Durham, he was editor of the student newspaper and sabbatical officer for the students’ union.

It was there that he met his wife Frances Robathan. The couple married in 1984 and share two sons, Adam and Matthew. Before joining the BBC in 1989, Alagiah worked in Johannesburg as the developing world correspondent for South Magazine. He was named Amnesty International’s journalist of the year in 1994 for reporting on the civil war in Burundi and also won the Broadcasting Press Guild award for television journalist of the year.



He was also part of the BBC team that won a Bafta award in 2000 for their reporting on the conflict in Kosovo, one of several awards he received during his television career. After first presenting BBC Four News in 2002, he became co-presenter of the 6 p.m. m., first with Sophie Raworth and then with Natasha Kaplinsky.

Since 2007 he was the sole presenter of the show, while also being a relief presenter for News at Ten. He interviewed various world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In 2008, he was named an OBE in the New Year’s Honors list for his services to journalism. The following year, BBC management asked him to step down from his role as patron of the Fairtrade Foundation.

The corporation explained that based on his principles of impartiality, his role with the group represented a professional conflict of interest. It was first announced in April 2014 that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer. It was later revealed that the disease had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.


After undergoing treatment, he revealed on social media in October 2015 that he would be returning to work and subsequently appeared onscreen in November. An increasingly popular presenter, his return was well received by viewers and fellow journalists, including hosts of competing news shows. In 2016, Alagiah said he was a “richer person” because of his cancer diagnosis, which led him to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy and three major operations, one of which included the removal of most of his liver.

Alagiah’s health made headlines again in March 2020, when in the midst of a global pandemic he tested positive for covid-19. He credited his cancer-fighting experience with helping him deal with the ‘mild’ case of coronavirus. In June 2020, Alagiah revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, but he delivered typically philosophical judgment.

He told the Times newspaper: ‘My doctors have never used the word ‘chronic’ or ‘cure’ about my cancer. ‘They’ve never used the word ‘terminal’ either. I’ve always told my oncologist, ‘Tell me when I have to get my business together,’ and he hasn’t told me, but what he did tell me is that the cancer is now in a third organ. It’s in my lungs.


Alagiah said that he had kept the development a secret and only told his publisher about it. He said: ‘I told my doctor, ‘You’re going to have to worry about me.’ I don’t want to fill my mind with worries. I only know that he is a smart guy, who does everything he can. In October 2021, a representative for Alagiah announced that he would be stepping back from his hosting and journalist duties as he deals with “the further spread of cancer”.

During an interview in January 2022, Alagiah spoke candidly about his long battle with cancer, saying, “It’s going to beat me in the end,” before adding, “I hope it’s a long time from now, but I’m very lucky.” Despite her hands-on approach to the disease, Alagiah remained positive as she reflected on her career and his family life.

‘I had to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute. If the end point came now, would my life have been a failure?’ she said. He added: “And really, when I look back and look at my journey…the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great luck of meeting (Frances Robathan) who has now been my wife and lover for all these years, the children we raised…it didn’t feel like a failure.”


Alagiah temporarily returned to BBC News At Six in April 2022. However, in October he announced once again that he had been forced to take some time off from his work after scans showed the cancer had spread further. While sharing the news, Alagiah said: ‘A recent scan showed my cancer has spread further so it’s been a tough thing again.

I miss my colleagues. Working in the newsroom has been a huge part of keeping me energized and motivated. “I hope to get back to that studio as soon as I can.” Alagiah spoke openly about the experience of living with cancer and joined a videocast for the charity Bowel Cancer UK in 2020 in which she said she sometimes felt like she had the ‘easy part’, living with bowel cancer while loved ones had to watch it.

He said: ‘Those of us living with cancer know that it affects our families almost as much as ourselves. “Somehow, during my more than six years living with cancer, I’ve felt that sometimes I have the easy part… My job is just to stay in shape and my family has to do all the other stuff.” Appearing at a campaign in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support in 2022, speaking about the impact of her own experience of living with stage four bowel cancer, Alagiah said: “People always ask me how I manage and it’s the hardest question…


“At first, the challenge was having my cancer diagnosis in my head: despite having so much going for me, a successful career and a loving family, they told me here that I was dying.” Away from journalism, Alagiah was a published author and his first novel was shortlisted for a Society of Authors award.

His thriller The Burning Land, about corruption and murder in South Africa, was in the running for the Paul Torday Memorial Award, given to the first novel by a writer over the age of 60.Read more……..



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