Bill Turnbull illness: latest on Classic FM presenter’s health - as he leaves show amid prostate cancer battle

The journalist and presenter announced he will be stepping back from his weekend programme for “health reasons”

Bill Turnbull has announced he is taking a leave of absence from his show on Classic FM for “health reasons”.

The journalist and presenter announced he will be stepping back from his weekend programme, which he has fronted for five years, on social media.

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What did Bill Turnbull say?

Mr Turnbull, 65, said he has made the decision to have a break from his show so he can take some time to “focus on getting better”.

He said on Twitter: “With great regret I am taking a leave of absence from my show @classicfm, for health reasons. The road has been a bit bumpy recently, and I need to take some time to focus on getting better.

“I’m sorry to do this, as I absolutely love doing the programme, and have hugely enjoyed the past five years.

“I am very grateful to friends and colleagues @global for the love and support they have shown me. And I will be back, just as soon as I can be.”

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Classic FM wished the presenter, who appeared on BBC Breakfast from 2001 until 2016, a speedy recovery and said it looks forward to welcoming him back.

A Classic FM spokesman said: “Bill is a hugely valued and loved member of the Classic FM and Global family.

“We wish him all the very best as he takes time away from his programmes to concentrate on getting better.

“Along with our listeners, we look forward to welcoming him back on air as soon as he can be.”

What illness does Bill Turnbull have?

Mr Turnbull revealed he had advanced prostate cancer in March 2018, saying he was diagnosed with the disease the previous November.

He explained he was diagnosed after long-term aches and pains, which he had put down to “old age”, were no longer being alleviated with pills.

After making his diagnosis public, Mr Turnbull became an advocate for prostate cancer charities and encouraged others to get tested, saying: “Maybe if I’d got it earlier and stopped it at the prostate, I’d be in a much better state.”

He has been very open about his health issues and detailed his treatment against cancer in a Channel 4 documentary called Staying Alive.

While the cancer has spread to his bones, he said in late 2019 that he still had a “fair old time to live” and continued in his broadcast career.

The 65-year-old recently reunited with his former BBC Breakfast co-star Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain, filling in after Piers Morgan quit the show.

He has continued to work while undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and treatment with radioactive substance Radium 223.

In May last year, he spoke about death and the afterlife on a podcast, saying he had “given it a lot of thought” and was feeling "very, very calm" about it.

BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker was among the people sending Bill Turnbull good wishes following news he is taking a break from Classic FM for health reasons.

Mr Walker tweeted: “Wishing you all the very best Bill. Take care of yourself.”

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