Bill Turnbull stepping back from Classic FM due to health reasons

Undated handout photo issued by Classic FM of Bill Turnbull who has announced he is stepping back from his show on Classic FM for
Bill Turnbull is taking a break to concentrate on his health. (PA)

Bill Turnbull has announced that he is "taking a leave of absence" from his role at Classic FM due to health reasons, four years on from his prostate cancer diagnosis.

The former BBC Breakfast host, 65, promised listeners he would be back "just as soon as I can be", admitting that "the road has been a bit bumpy recently".

He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2017 and shared the news publicly in March 2018, revealing the treatment he was going through in Channel 4 documentary Staying Alive.

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Sharing the news about his break from Classic FM, Turnbull tweeted: “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.”

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

Bill Turnbull recently reunited with Susanna Reid for 'Good Morning Britain'. (ITV)
Bill Turnbull recently reunited with Susanna Reid for 'Good Morning Britain'. (ITV)

“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.”

BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker offered his support to Turnbull, tweeting: "Wishing you all the very best Bill. Take care of yourself.”

Read more: Bill Turnbull has 'good days and bad days' in cancer treatment

Turnbull has previously spoken about his symptoms of aches and pains which he had put down to ageing, and which he finally visited the doctor about when pills he had been taking stopped making a difference.

Bill Turnball has charted his life following his diagnosis in a new documentary. (Channel 4/Pete Dadds).
Bill Turnbull charted his life following his diagnosis in a documentary. (Channel 4/Pete Dadds).

He has supported advice to get tested early, saying: “Maybe if I’d got it earlier and stopped it at the prostate, I’d be in a much better state.”

Turnbull presented BBC Breakfast from 2001 until 2016, with co-stars including Susanna Reid and Sian Williams.

Watch: Susanna Reid stunned by Bill Turnbull's risque joke in Good Morning Britain reunion