"He was loved by all and we will miss him enormously."
BBC journalist and newsreader George Alagiah has passed away at the age of 67.
His agent Mary Greenham said he “died peacefully today, surrounded by his family and loved ones”.
“George fought until the bitter end but sadly that battle ended earlier today.
“George was deeply loved by everybody who knew him, whether it was a friend, a colleague or a member of the public.
“He simply was a wonderful human being. My thoughts are with Fran, the boys and his wider family.”
Alagiah was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2014 and underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy.
In 2020, he revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes.
On the Desperately Seeking Wisdom podcast in 2022, he said that when his cancer was first discovered, it took a while for him to understand what he “needed to do”.
“I had to stop and say, ‘Hang on a minute. If the full stop came now, would my life have been a failure?’
“And actually, when I look back and I looked at my journey… the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great good fortune to bump into [Frances Robathan], who’s now been my wife and lover for all these years, the kids that we brought up… it didn’t feel like a failure.”
BBC director general Tim Davie said: “Across the BBC, we are all incredibly sad to hear the news about George. We are thinking of his family at this time.
“George was one of the best and bravest journalists of his generation who reported fearlessly from across the world as well as presenting the news flawlessly.
“He was more than just an outstanding journalist, audiences could sense his kindness, empathy and wonderful humanity.
“He was loved by all and we will miss him enormously.”
George Alagiah was one of the BBC’s longest-serving and most-respected journalists.
He won awards for reports on the famine and war in Somalia.
In 1994, he was nominated for a BAFTA for covering Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq.
Alagiah was also the first BBC journalist to report on the genocide in Rwanda.
Moving to news presenting, he fronted the BBC One O’Clock News, Nine O’Clock News and BBC Four News, before being made one of the main presenters of the Six O’Clock News in 2003.
Born to a Tamil family in Colombo, Sri Lanka, George Alagiah’s parents moved to Ghana and then to England when he was 11, where he would study politics at the University of Durham.
George Alagiah joined the BBC as a foreign affairs correspondent in 1989 and then became Africa correspondent.
During his illustrious career, Alagiah interviewed figures including South African President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
In 2008, he received an OBE for services to journalism.
He is survived by his wife, Frances, and sons Adam and Matthew.