Esteemed BBC newsreader George Alagiah, a prominent figure in the journalism world, has sadly passed away at the age of 67. The somber announcement was made by his agent, Mary Greenham, who conveyed the news to the PA news agency. Alagiah’s peaceful departure occurred in the loving presence of his family and close companions.
Greenham expressed her heartfelt condolences, conveying her deep sorrow over the loss of the revered journalist. She highlighted Alagiah’s unwavering determination to fight his illness until the very end. Despite the challenges, he faced his battle with immense courage and resilience.
George Alagiah was widely admired and cherished by everyone fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him, be it a friend, colleague, or even a member of the general public. His warm and amiable personality earned him the affection of many. Greenham’s thoughts and prayers are with Fran, their children, and the extended family as they come to terms with their profound loss.
The veteran journalist from Sri Lanka had been bravely confronting stage four bowel cancer, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes, since April 2014. Over the years, Alagiah underwent intense medical treatments, including multiple rounds of chemotherapy and complex surgeries that involved the removal of a significant portion of his liver.
In the face of adversity, Alagiah remained determined to continue his work as a news anchor on BBC One’s esteemed program, News At Six. However, his health struggles occasionally necessitated breaks from his broadcasting responsibilities. Despite these challenges, he found solace and motivation in the newsroom, which served as a source of energy and inspiration for him.
Throughout his career, George Alagiah interviewed numerous prominent figures, including Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, showcasing his exceptional journalistic prowess and ability to engage with the world’s most influential personalities.
The BBC director-general, Tim Davie, paid tribute to Alagiah on social media, expressing the collective grief felt by the entire BBC community. Davie fondly remembered Alagiah as one of the finest and most courageous journalists of his generation, praising his fearlessness in reporting from various global hotspots and his flawless presentation of the news.
In addition to his professional achievements, George Alagiah was known for his compassion, kindness, and empathy. Audiences could sense his genuine concern for the stories he reported, making him not just an outstanding journalist but also a beloved personality who touched the hearts of many.
George Alagiah’s association with the BBC began in 1989, where he first established himself as a distinguished foreign correspondent before taking up the mantle of a news anchor. His journalistic contributions and outstanding service were recognized when he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year’s Honours.
Beyond his remarkable broadcasting career, Alagiah was a talented author, with “A Home From Home: From Immigrant Boy to English Man” (2006) being one of his notable works. In this memoir, he eloquently shared his experiences as an immigrant in the UK, resonating with many who shared similar journeys.
The passing of George Alagiah leaves a void in the world of journalism, but his legacy of professionalism, compassion, and excellence will undoubtedly live on in the hearts and minds of those he inspired throughout his illustrious career.