Popular journalist and presenter George Alagiah has passed away at the age of 67, the BBC has confirmed.

The veteran newsreader was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014.

Alagiah reported and presented for the BBC for more than three decades with BBC viewers knowing him best for presenting the BBC News at Six for 20 years.

As major names in media pay tribute to the newsreader, look back at the illustrious career of one of the BBC's longest-serving newsreaders.

Andover Advertiser: BBC newsreader, journalist and presenter George Alagiah has died at the age of 67, the BBC has confirmed ( BBC)BBC newsreader, journalist and presenter George Alagiah has died at the age of 67, the BBC has confirmed ( BBC) (Image: BBC)

Before the BBC

The BBC presenter was born in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo in 1955 when the city was still considered part of the former British territory of Ceylon.

In 1961, he moved with his parents and four sisters to Ghana in West Africa for primary school before he moved to Portsmouth, England for his secondary school education.

Alagiah then read politics at Van Mildert College, Durham University and consequently wrote and edited for his student newspaper Palatinate.

After seven years in print journalism working for South Magazine, Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989.

Working for the BBC

He worked as a Developing World correspondent, based in London, and then Southern Africa correspondent in Johannesburg before becoming a presenter.

Throughout his career as one of the BBC's leading foreign correspondents, Alagiah reported on the Rwandan genocide and the civil wars in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia among other major news stories.

He was named Amnesty International’s Journalist of the Year in 1994 for reporting on the civil war in Burundi.

The newsreader also won the Broadcasting Press Guild’s award for television journalist of the year.

He was also part of the BBC team that won a Bafta Award in 2000 for its reporting of the conflict in Kosovo, one of several prizes he received during his broadcasting career.

From its launch in 2002, Alagiah presented the BBC Four News before being a co-anchor of the BBC's 6 pm news bulletin.

He first appeared alongside Sophie Raworth and then Natasha Kaplinsky.

From 2007, he was the programme's sole presenter while he was also a relief presenter for News at Ten.

Over the course of his career, Alagiah interviewed several world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

He was appointed an OBE for services to journalism in 2008.

Beyond the BBC

It was at university where Alagiah met his wife Frances Robathan.

The couple married in 1984 and share two sons Adam and Matthew.

Alagiah was forced to take a break from television following his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014.

Following his diagnosis, he shared updates as he battled the disease, including in June 2020 when he revealed it had spread to his lungs.

After undergoing treatment he revealed on social media in October 2015 that he would return to work, subsequently appearing on-screen in November.

In 2016, Alagiah said he was a “richer person” for his cancer diagnosis, which saw him undergo several rounds of chemotherapy and three major operations, one of which included the removal of most of his liver.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Alagiah's health made headlines after he tested positive for the virus.

He credited his experience of fighting cancer with helping him deal with the “mild” case of coronavirus.

Alagiah temporarily returned to BBC News At Six in April 2022.

That October, Alagiah once again announced that he had been forced to take time away from his work after scans showed that the cancer had spread further.

Beyond his career with the BBC, Alagiah was a published author and his debut novel was shortlisted for a Society Of Authors award.

His thriller The Burning Land, about corruption and homicide in South Africa, was in the running for the Paul Torday memorial prize, which is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60.