Former England captain Bryan Robson has undergone surgery for throat cancer, Manchester United said today.
Robson was in Bangkok when he had the operation on March 3 and United have said specialists are optimistic about the chances of a full recovery.
"Bryan Robson underwent an operation to remove a tumour from his throat on March 3, 2011 in a hospital in Bangkok," a club statement read.
"The laboratory report revealed a cancerous tumour, which will need further treatment. The oncologist is confident that the condition is treatable."
The former Manchester United skipper is currently combining his work as a United ambassador with coaching the Thailand national team.
The statement continued: "At this moment Bryan is fine to continue with his role as Thailand coach and his role as ambassador of Manchester United.
"Bryan and his family have requested that he can continue with his treatment in private and ask that their privacy is respected."
Although it seems Robson has managed to catch the tumour at an early stage, news of the operation will come as a shock.
The 54-year-old was always regarded as the fittest of players, able to push himself far beyond the likes of Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside who, like Robson, were also noted for their fondness for a drink.
He won 90 caps for his country, 65 as captain, despite a succession of major injuries and was dubbed Captain Marvel by Sir Bobby Robson.
Sir Alex Ferguson was just as enthusiastic about Robson's contribution to the Old Trafford cause and when he left United in 1994 he had led the club to three FA Cups, the European Cup Winners' Cup and two Premier League titles, even though his influence was dwindling by that stage.
He never enjoyed the same success as a manager though.
While Robson did enjoy some fine moments in a career that took him from Middlesbrough to Bradford, West Brom and Sheffield United, he remained out of the game following his dismissal by the Blades in 2008 until he replaced Peter Reid in Thailand in September 2009.