Sir Michael Parkinson has spoken out on his friend Billy Connolly after it was revealed yesterday that the Scottish funnyman is battling prostate cancer, just like the chat show veteran.
A spokesman for Billy announced on Monday that the 70-year-old star is dealing with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, and has also undergone surgery for prostate cancer.
"Billy has been assured by experts that the findings will in no way inhibit or affect his ability to work, and he will start filming a TV series in the near future, as well as undertaking an extensive theatrical tour of New Zealand in the new year," the rep revealed.
Sir Michael helped launch Billy's career, inviting him to a record nine appearances on his chat show, following his debut in 1975. He said yesterday: "I spoke to Billy before his surgery to wish my old friend well, and I’m pleased it has all gone well. I’m looking forward to seeing Billy back doing what he does best – making us all laugh."
Bill Connolly is battling the early stages of Parkinsons as well as prostate cancer (WENN)
Parkinson, 78, has also battled prostate cancer but was told last month he can expect to make a full recovery after a period of intensive radiotherapy treatment. The TV star has since worked to raise awareness of the disease, launching a campaign urging men to check for warning signs.
Bob Geldof has also spoken out in support of his friend Billy, telling Channel 5 News:
"He's a great man… He's a great friend. He's helped me lots in my endeavours.
"Pam [Stephenson, his wife] and Bill are great mates. He’s as strong as an ox mentally from everything he’s been through as a kid. So I don’t think this will deter him from being that individual that we know.”