Sir John Hurt, the veteran actor, has been diagnosed with cancer but will keep working and says he is “more than optimistic” about his future.
The star, 75, has enjoyed a successful career with notable roles including Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, the title role in The Elephant Man and a recurring role in the Harry Potter films.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, he said: “I have always been open about the way in which I conduct my life and in that spirit I would like to make a statement.
“I have recently been diagnosed with early stage pancreatic cancer. I am undergoing treatment and am more than optimistic about a satisfactory outcome, as indeed is the medical team.
“I am continuing to focus on my professional commitments and will shortly be recording Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell (one of life’s small ironies!) for BBC Radio 4.”
The British actor has been nominated for two Oscars, for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express, and his credits include the 1979 sci-fi classic Alien.
The star was awarded a knighthood for services to drama in 2014.
Hurt has been busy in recent months, filming The History of Love with Gemma Arterton and Sir Derek Jacobi and the new Tarzan with Samuel L Jackson and Margot Robbie.
He also starred in a special 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who and recorded voice-work for a new Thomas the Tank Engine film with Eddie Redmayne.
According to the NHS, around 8,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year,making it the 11th most common cancer. Around half of new cases are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.
By Anita Singh