TV veteran Alastair Stewart has revealed he has been diagnosed with early-onset vascular dementia.
The 71-year-old former ITV News presenter retired from regular GB News programming earlier this year after almost five decades on air.
In March he hosted his final episode of Alastair Stewart And Friends, a discussion show on GB News.
Stewart left ITV in 2020, where he had presented a range of news and current affairs programs including the Evening News, Midday News and News At Ten after more than 35 years with the channel.
He told British news program The Camilla Tominey Show on Sunday: “I mean, the headline, and I guess it’s relatively dramatic, is that about six, nine months ago I started feeling a little confused about one of my favorite words.
“I didn’t become forgetful, but things like tying your shoelaces correctly – that’s how I wear these lovely moccasins now – making sure your tie is straight, and remembering that the broadcast time for your program is four o’clock and not five o’clock, don’t show up too early or late and things like that.
“Then, in my old age, in my late 50s and early 60s, I decided that there might be something wrong with me.”
He added that he went to his GP and was sent for a scan which revealed he had suffered severe “minor strokes, called infarct attacks” and was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
According to the NHS, the common condition is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to symptoms such as slowed thinking and problems concentrating.
Stewart said that following the news, he “signed on staff” to GB News and appeared as a commentator on major news events such as the royal coronation for the broadcaster.
He added: “What I really find hardest is the impact it has had on Sally, my wife. We’ve been married for almost half a century, and, you know, your life partner, your lover, all these personal and intimate descriptions, that person is – I choose my words very carefully – almost reduced to a caregiver. ”
Stewart said his wife, who worked as a production assistant and with whom he has four children, had to make sure he was ready for the interview before his appearance and that his “tie was done correctly.”
He added: “So if you think there is something wrong with you, go to your GP and listen to what he or she says.
“But also remember that the people you work with and live with and share your life with are the most important people in the world. And if you’re lucky like me, they’re there to help you.”
Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips recently said she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the family of American actor Bruce Willis revealed he was suffering from frontotemporal dementia.
Phillips, 62, said in July she hoped her involvement in clinical trials would be a step towards tackling Alzheimer’s, telling the Daily Mirror: “I can’t just lie down and accept it.”
Throughout his career, Stewart has covered stories such as the Beslan School siege in Russia, the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany and various royal weddings.
He was named Presenter of the Year at the 2004 Royal Television Society Awards and two years later was appointed OBE for services to broadcasting and charity.
He began his career in 1976 at ITV’s Southern Television in Southampton, where he worked as a general reporter, industry correspondent, presenter and documentary filmmaker.
He joined ITN in 1980 as an industrial correspondent and became Washington correspondent a decade later.
He then hosted ITN’s coverage of the first Gulf War and was the first British television reporter to broadcast live from liberated Kuwait City.
Stewart also chaired debates with political figures including Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg before the 2010 general election for ITV and for GB News when Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss stood for the leadership of the Conservative Party.