Jeremy Paxman has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but has vowed to continue broadcasting, saying “it could be worse”.
The 71-year-old writer and broadcaster, who suffered broken ribs after falling while walking his dog earlier this year, announced he was receiving treatment for “mild” symptoms of the disease.
The University Challenge presenter and combative former host of Newsnight said he remained determined to continue his work despite the diagnosis.
Paxman said in a statement: “I can confirm I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am receiving excellent treatment and my symptoms are currently mild.
“I plan to continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me.”
He wrote in a column due to be printed in Saga magazine: “I will not pretend that being diagnosed with an incurable brain disease is fun.
“But it could be worse. I have at least the consolation of being in the enjoyable company of people like Billy Connolly and Alan Alda.
“I am lucky to have understanding family, friends and colleagues, and I am also fortunate in seeing the funny side of unexpectedly falling over.”
Paxman suffered a fall while walking his dog Derek earlier this year, and wrote in his subsequent Saga column that he had no recollection of the incident because he “blacked out beforehand or did so when my nose hit the ground”.
The author of numerous histories, including a study of the British Empire, wrote that he tried to avoid the emergency services, but added that they are “inescapable when you get older”.
Long before his diagnosis, Paxman pledged his support to Parkinson's UK, and in 2009 vowed to donate his brain to the charity in the hope that research would yield a cure for the disease.
He said at the time that it was “hard to imagine anyone might want your old brain”, but added that “it’s not as if you’ll be needing it yourself”.
Shān Nicholas, interim chief executive at Parkinson's UK, said the presenter choosing to go public with his diagnosis “will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition”.
She added: “We are glad that he has been receiving the right treatment to manage his symptoms.
“Previously, Jeremy pledged to donate his brain to the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank which will one day, help scientists uncover the discoveries that will lead to better treatments and a cure for Parkinson's. We wish Jeremy all the best.”
Born in Leeds, Paxman began working with the BBC in 1972 and went on to cover the Troubles in Belfast before joining the investigative flagship programme Panorama.
Despite stating “any fool” could read the news, he also enjoyed stints on the Six O’Clock News and BBC One’s Breakfast Time before becoming a Newsnight presenter in 1989, a position he would hold for the next 25 years.
Paxman has also presented University Challenge since 1994, making him the longest serving current quizmaster on UK TV.
- Jeremy Paxman's beard tickles Newsnight viewers and Twitter
- 'I'd rather watch Porridge than try yoga!': LEO MCKINSTRY reveals he wept in the street when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease aged just 55 but insists he refuses to play the victim
- Jeremy Hardy obituary
- Jeremy Kyle ‘shouldn’t be allowed back on air’ until he’s ‘held to account’ over guest’s death, claims MP
- X Factor: Celebrity star Jeremy Edwards likes tweet saying show is 'worst TV ever'
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is coming back - with Jeremy Clarkson as host
- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant is hailed one of the 'best ever' by Jeremy Clarkson as she storms to £250K without using a lifeline before losing the £500K question - so, can you replicate her 13-question winning streak?
- 'This isn't Shooting Stars, Edwards!' University Challenge contestant has Twitter in stitches after rubbing his thighs EVERY time he gets a question right
- The Milibeard: revealing Ed's new look
- Mark Latham’s Sky News contract terminated after his comments on Sydney schoolboy being ‘gay’
- Oprah's Lance Armstrong interview: no point nitpicking – this was TV history
- Keeping up with the Jones
- Curse of Cameron's cuties: As Louise Mensch waltzes off, we look at the very mixed fortunes of Dave's other A-list women MPs
- Exhibition of people with beards to open at Somerset House in spring 2015
- Beard trend goes a whisker too far as men told 'it's time to shave'
- What every man should know about fashion in 2014
- Sandi Toksvig: 'I came out, and the tabloid press thought I was Cruella de Vil'
- Bruno Ganz obituary
- Labour’s Iain McNicol steps down from Lords role after report leak
- Who'd be a health secretary? Five former incumbents on the toughest gig in politics
Jeremy Paxman: I have Parkinson’s , but it won’t keep me off television have 784 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at May 21, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.