The Sri Lanka-born journalist, the face of BBC One’s News At Six since 2007, was diagnosed in 2014 with stage four bowel cancer, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.

Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and spent many years as one of the corporation’s leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting.

Alagiah was born in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo in 1955 to Tamil and Christian parents. The family relocated to Ghana when Alagiah was six to escape anti-Tamil violence in Sri Lanka.

During the BBC’s coverage of the 2004 Asian tsunami, he returned to the country to find that his grandfather’s former home had been destroyed in the natural disaster.