I have a brain tumour but I'm getting on with my life, says Diana inquisitor Martin Bashir
By Katie Nicholl
Last updated at 10:16 PM on 07th June 2008
Martin Bashir, who became a household name after his extraordinary TV interview with the late Diana, Princess of Wales about the break-up of her marriage to Prince Charles, is suffering from a brain tumour.
The 45-year-old former Panorama presenter confirmed yesterday that he has a tumour growing on his pituitary gland but plans ‘to get on with his life’.
The potentially life-threatening condition was discovered after the celebrity interviewer was treated for a serious knock to the head last month.
According to sources in New York, where Mr Bashir lives with his wife Debbie and their two children, the presenter suffered the injury on the set of his Nightline show for ABC news in America and was taken to hospital for stitches.
It was only following a scan that doctors discovered the tumour on Mr Bashir’s pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain and helps to control growth.
‘It has been a very worrying time for Martin and his family but the good news is that the specialists do not want to operate on the tumour yet,’ a family friend said last night.
‘Martin was filming his show when he knocked his head pretty badly and had to go and have stitches.
'The next day he was still in a lot of pain so he went back to the hospital, where they did some tests. It was then that the doctors realised he has a tumour growing on his brain.
‘While of course it has been very upsetting, Martin is seeing it as a blessing in disguise. If he hadn’t had the knock to his head, he would never have known about the tumour.
‘The doctors say they have found it at a very early stage. They want to monitor it at the moment and not operate. Obviously it’s very serious and they are not unconcerned.
‘But tumours can stay static for many years. The doctors have done lots of scans and tests and there are no signs that the tumour is cancerous, or that it will grow, so he can live with this quite normally for the time being.
‘The last thing Martin wants is for people to think he’s going to pass away tomorrow. He wants everyone to know he is doing very well.’
Mr Bashir was last week presenting his show and this week he flies to Los Angeles to make a programme about gang murders in the United States for ABC, the American network to which he is exclusively signed.
‘Martin has been getting on with life as much as he can,’ added the source. ‘Of course, he was absolutely terrified to be told he has a brain tumour but he did his research and is not one to dwell on problems.
‘He wants to live his life as normally as possible. He was playing football in New York last week with his kids in the annual dads and lads match at his children’s school and he is keeping busy.
'There are no plans for him to scale back in his personal or professional life. He has told his family, and everyone is being very supportive.’
A spokesman for Mr Bashir last night told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Martin is getting on with his life and his career and is very busy making his TV shows.
‘He’s seeing it very much as a stroke of luck that he had a knock because doctors have now discovered the tumour and it’s at a very early stage, where it can be monitored. He plans to get on with life as per usual.’
Mr Bashir became a household name by interviewing Diana in 1995. During the hour-long programme – the repercussions of which damaged the reputation of the Royal Family – the Princess spoke frankly for the first time about her separation from Prince Charles.
She described the Prince’s camp as the ‘enemy’ and said the Monarchy was in desperate need of modernisation.
Diana admitted an adulterous affair with former Army officer James Hewitt and described her hurt at her husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
‘There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,’ she famously said.
The Princess also spoke freely about her depression and bulimia, her children and the future of the Monarchy.
And it was during this interview that she said she wanted to be the ‘queen of people’s hearts’.
Mr Bashir’s reputation has been enhanced by a series of other scoops. He secured the first in-depth interview with Michael Jackson in 2003 for ITV – gaining unprecedented access to the eccentric star at his Neverland ranch.
The show led to Jackson appearing in a California court on a charge of molesting a young boy. He was cleared by a jury.