Andrew Marr, the TV presenter and journalist, has had a stroke, the BBC said today. The 53-year-old presenter of The Andrew Marr Show and Start the Week was taken ill on Tuesday and is recovering in hospital.
Mr Marr is one of the best-known broadcasters in Britain. With his distinctive appearance and trademark gesticulating he transformed political reporting on television as BBC political editor from 2000 to 2005.
He moved to present the BBC's flagship Sunday morning news programme, The Andrew Marr Show, in 2005. He has also presented several TV series including Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain, a three-part series on the life and reign of Elizabeth II and an eight-part series, beginning last September, Andrew Marr's History of the World. He has written books on politics and journalism and is a former editor of The Independent. He is married to the journalist Jackie Ashley and has three children.
In a statement the BBC said: "Andrew Marr was taken ill today and taken to hospital. The hospital confirmed he has had a stroke. His doctors say he is responding to treatment.
"We will continue to broadcast The Andrew Marr Show and Radio 4's Start The Week with guest presenters in his absence. His colleagues and the whole BBC wish him a speedy recovery."
James Landale, the BBC's deputy political editor, will present The Andrew Marr Show this Sunday.
A stroke is caused by a blood clot in the brain or a haemorrhage in a blood vessel causing a bleed into the brain. More than 150,000 people have a stroke every year, a third of them aged under 65 according to the Stroke Association.
About a third of stroke patients make a full recovery, a third are partially disabled and a third die.
Mr Marr's literary agent, Ed Victor, said tonight he believed the stroke to be "pretty serious".