BBC presenter George Alagiah dies aged 67

Newsreader was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014

George Alagiah was one of the BBC's longest-serving newsreaders. PA
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BBC newsreader George Alagiah, who became one of British television's most familiar and respected faces in more than three decades with the broadcaster, has died at the age of 67.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and revealed last year that it had spread. His agent said he died peacefully surrounded by his family.

“George fought until the bitter end but sadly that battle ended earlier today,” the agent said.

“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.”

Known for his calm, reassuring manner, the Sri Lankan-born Mr Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and became the face of its News at Six programme.

As a correspondent he interviewed major political figures of his times such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and ex-Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

In 1994 he was nominated for a British Film and Television Award for his coverage of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. He also presented other programmes such as Mixed Britannia, looking at the UK’s mixed-race population.

The BBC's director general Tim Davie said staff were “incredibly sad” at the news.

“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 said.

“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.”

Politicians also paid tribute. Labour leader Keir Starmer said Mr Alagiah was a “much-loved face of BBC News for decades” who would be remembered for his “brilliant, fearless journalism”.

Mr Alagiah had two sons with his wife Frances Robathan, and three grandchildren.

Updated: July 24, 2023, 1:57 PM