Neighbours star Alan Fletcher reassures fans after sharing alopecia diagnosis
Neighbours veteran Alan Fletcher, who plays Dr Karl Kennedy on the long-running soap, has shocked fans with a new look, prompting fears for his health.
Fans have been concerned about the star's wellbeing after he was seen with a shaved head and beard, with many questioning on Twitter the state of his health.
"Is Alan Fletcher OK? He looks very different. Hopefully he is OK," one said.
"Where's your gorgeous hair gone?" another questioned.
Read more: Kylie 'forever grateful' for soap start
"Is the lovely Alan Fletcher keeping well? I see such a drastic change in his appearance," a third added.
Following the concern, Fletcher revealed in a video uploaded to Neighbours' official Twitter page he had alopecia areata.
Alan has a message for you 💛
For help and support please head to https://t.co/AFXqMFkYMe pic.twitter.com/XUWxnJTnIU
— Neighbours (@neighbours) May 19, 2022
"A lot of fans have expressed concern about my health on the internet," he said.
"So I just want to put something to rest. I'm absolutely fit and well, working on Neighbours and having a great time. But I can report to you I do have a disorder called alopecia areata.
"Now, if you watched the Oscars you'd know that's the thing that caused a bit of a discord between Will Smith and Chris Rock in referencing Will Smith's wife."
Read more: Neighbours axed: Are other soaps at risk?
Alan added his disorder caused patchy hair loss and he started losing his beard and hair on his scalp.
"So eventually I shaved my beard off, and then my hair became so patchy on my head I had to get rid of most of that as well," he said.
"Now UK audiences have seen Dr Karl without hair, Australian audiences will see on June 2 so stay tuned for that."
Alan then removed his hat to debut his new look and acknowledged many people would be shocked.
"I have no problem with it, in fact, it's kind of fun," he said.
"But one thing I will say is that alopecia areata can be quite serious to people, particularly from an emotional point of view. Sudden hair loss is really troubling for a lot of people, particularly for young people who can be terribly bullied. There is support out there.
"But let me assure you I'm absolutely fit and well and thank you for your concern."
People praised Alan for being open about his condition, with many sharing support for the soap star on Twitter.
Read more: Actors who started out in Neighbours
"You're an absolute bloody legend. Thanks for being my favourite Neighbours character ever and thanks for explaining what's going on. All the very best to you," one said.
"Bravo, what a positive message to put out there!" another commented.
"Total respect," a third added.
It was revealed in earlier this year Neighbours would be officially cancelled after 37 years.
The final episode is due to air soon.
Watch: Alan Fletcher on the end of Neighbours