Jeremy Paxman has confirmed he will continue to present University Challenge ‘as long as they’ll have me’ following his diagnosis with Parkinson’s.
The broadcaster, 71, has hosted University Challenge since 1994 and is planning to continue with his filming commitments as long as possible.
He said in a statement to the PA news agency: ‘I can confirm I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am receiving excellent treatment and my symptoms are currently mild.
‘I plan to continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me.’
The former Newsnight host added that he would be making no further comment and had written about his diagnosis for the June edition of Saga magazine.
He is the longest-serving quizmaster on UK television, after joining the revived version of the show in 1994.
Jeremy, who is known for his in-depth interviewing style, joined Newsnight in 1989 and remained with the BBC Two nightly bulletin until 2014.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, which worsens over time.
Around one in 500 people is affected by Parkinson’s, with most people developing symptoms over the age of 50 and it being more common in men than women, according to the NHS.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
As well as Jeremy, other notable stars who have recently revealed they are living with the condition include The Chase’s Paul Sinha and Ozzy Osbourne, who has Parkin 2.
Shan Nicholas, interim chief executive at Parkinson’s UK, said: ‘Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world and Jeremy choosing to speak publicly about his diagnosis, will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition.
‘With more than 40 symptoms, Parkinson’s is unpredictable and complex. We are glad that he has been receiving the right treatment to manage his symptoms.
‘Getting the right support in place is key to helping people to take control of their lives when they are newly diagnosed. We would encourage people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s to speak to their GP or specialist to explore the best options for treatment and managing their Parkinson’s.
‘Previously, Jeremy pledged to donate his brain to the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank which will one day, help scientists uncover the discoveries that will lead to better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.
‘With his diagnosis, Jeremy is now also a part of the Parkinson’s community made up of 145,000 people in the UK, who are waiting for a breakthrough treatment, which we are getting closer to every day. We wish Jeremy all the best.’
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