Veteran TV presenter and critic Clive James has leukaemia, it has emerged.
The 71-year-old Australian, who lives in England, has been battling with the illness for 15 months.
His illness was disclosed by the editor of The Australian Literary Review, Luke Slattery, who said he wrote to James after his requests for an essay were politely rebuffed on grounds of ill health and after James referred to several life-threatening conditions in his poetry, Australian Associated Press reported.
James wrote back saying he was hospitalised in January 2010 for kidney failure. "I was immediately diagnosed for everything else as well, including several lung diseases and a version of leukaemia that is supposed to develop slowly but in my case couldn't wait to get started, mainly in my lungs," he wrote. Slattery, writing in The Australian, said James had been forced to ration his time to work on several book projects, including a second volume of his book Cultural Amnesia.
James has lived in England since leaving Sydney in 1961. He became a columnist for The Observer and has worked for the BBC and independent television. The Mail on Sunday quoted his wife Prue Shaw, an academic, as saying: "Clive has been ill for around 15 months and is being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
"He is suffering from CLL - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia - which if you must have the condition is the kind you want because they can monitor it."