Famous BBC journalist George Alagiah, who was one of the most respected and longest-serving newsmen, died at the age of 67 on Monday after losing a 10-year-long battle with cancer, a statement from his agent said.
The statement read: “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. My thoughts are with Fran, the boys, and his wider family.”
Tim Davie director general of BBC said: “Across the BBC, we are all incredibly sad to hear the news about George. We are thinking of his family at this time. 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.”
The DG also added: “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.”
George Alagiah was associate with the channel for three decades, presenting the BBC News at Six for the past 20 years.
He was also an award-winning foreign correspondent, according to BBC.
He was suffering from stage four bowel cancer since 2014 which spread further after undergoing a medical examination in 2022.
He was awarded for his coverage of the famine and war in Somalia in the early 1990s and secured nominated for a Bafta in 1994 for covering Saddam Hussein’s campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq.
Amnesty International also named him the Journalist of the Year in 1994 for his reporting on the civil war in Burundi. He has also the honour of being the first BBC journalist to report on the genocide in Rwanda.
George Maxwell Alagiah was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and then moved to Ghana before going to England when he was a child.
He attended Durham University, where he met and then married, Frances Roberthan.
He became part of the British TV channel as a foreign affairs correspondent in 1989 and then became an African correspondent.
While writing about his childhood, he regarded it as a depressing experience.
“There is a new generation in Africa”, he wrote, “my generation, freedom’s children, born and educated in those years of euphoria after independence, we have had a chance. We didn’t do much with it.”
“One of his proudest professional moments came when he broadcast some of the first pictures of the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999,” he said.
As a news presenter, he worked in BBC One O’Clock News, Nine O’Clock News, and BBC Four News, before becoming the main presenter of the Six O’Clock News in 2003.
He also covered national disasters that occurred in different parts of the world, including Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Speaking on the Desperately Seeking Wisdom podcast in 2022, he said after the disease discovery knew what he “needed to do”.
“I had to stop and say, ‘Hang on a minute. If the full stop came now, would my life have been a failure?’
“And actually, when I look back and I looked at my journey… the family I had, the opportunities my family had, the great good fortune to bump into [Frances Robathan], who’s now been my wife and lover for all these years, the kids that we brought up… it didn’t feel like a failure.”