Alastair Stewart, best known for fronting ITV News, has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 71. The TV veteran confirmed his onset vascular dementia diagnosis just months after he retired from regular broadcasting after nearly five decades on air.
The 71-year-old presented his final episode of Alastair Stewart And Friends, a discussion programme on GB News, in March 2023. Mr Steward left ITV back in 2020 after more than 35 years presenting a range of news and current affairs programmes including the evening news, lunchtime news and News At Ten.
He told GB News programme The Camilla Tominey Show on Sunday: “I mean, the headline story, and it is relatively dramatic, I suppose, is that about six, nine months ago, I began to feel one of my favourite words, a bit discombobulated.
“I wasn’t becoming forgetful but things like doing your shoelaces properly – that’s how I wear these lovely moccasins now – making sure your tie was straight, remembering that the call time for your programme is four o’clock and not five o’clock, not turning up early or late, and stuff like that.
“I then decided at my ripe old age of late 50s, early 60s, that I might have something wrong.”
The TV veteran added he went to see his GP and was sent for a scan which revealed he had a series of “minor strokes, known as infarct strokes”. This led to a diagnosis of vascular dementia.
According to the NHS website, vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which has symptoms including slowness of thought and problems with concentration.
Following the diagnosis, Stewart said he moved to “a contributor contract” at GB News and has appeared as a commentator on major news events such as the King’s Coronation for the channel.
He added: “The thing I have found most difficult to deal with, genuinely, is the impact it’s had on Sally, my wife. We’ve been married for nearly half a century, and, you know, your life partner, your lover, all of those descriptions that are personal and intimate, that person is reduced – I choose my words very carefully – almost to a carer.”
Stewart said his wife, who he shares four children with, had to make sure he was ready before appearing for the interview and that his “tie was done properly”.
He added: “So, if you do think that there’s something wrong with you, go and see the GP, listen to what he or she says.
“But also do remember that the people you work with and the people you live with and share your life with are the most important people in the entire world. And they are there if you’re lucky enough, as I was, to help you.”