Susanna Reid has offered support to Fiona Phillips following news that the presenter has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease aged 62.

The former breakfast TV presenter learnt she had the condition 18 months ago, after experiencing symptoms of anxiety and brain fog.

She is currently taking part in a drug trial that scientists hope could revolutionise treatment of the incurable illness, and told The Daily Mirror that she was sharing her diagnosis in hope of ending stigma.

Hosting Good Morning Britain on Wednesday (5 July) with Ed Balls, Reid sent a positive message to the former ITV presenter.

“We are all sending our huge best wishes this morning to Fiona Phillips… well known to all of you as the former presenter of GMTV for more than a decade,” she said.

“Just a hugely popular presenter and journalist, we all know and love her. She has also been an incredible advocate to family’s living with Alzheimer’s. Her mother was diagnosed in her fifties, or the symptoms were certainly picked up, her father then in his sixties and her uncle as well.”

Reid continued: “And now Fiona herself has been diagnosed, it’s called young-onset Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed at the age of 61.”

Balls, meanwhile, called Phillips an “iconic broadcaster” and recalled former prime minister Gordon Brown once telling the presenter she could be a “brilliant” public health minister if she quit journalism.

“I would guess Fiona has been thinking about this for a long time and now it’s a reality that she’s dealing with, and doing so very bravely,” he said.

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Mentioning the medical trial Phillips is undergoing, he added: “She wants to pioneer… she wants to help other people deal with this. But she’ll be doing all of that, helping other people as she’s always done, while also having to deal with it which is so tough.”

Reid echoed this, saying: “We wish Fiona all our best, we send her all our love.”

Other ITV stars past and present have also rushed to support Phillips, with Lorraine Kelly tweeting: “As expected our much loved Fiona is dealing with this shattering diagnosis with courage and optimism.

“She’s a good kind soul and I pray the treatment works and results in a massive breakthrough for everyone dealing with this hellish disease. Sending her and her family all my love.”

Reid’s former GMB co-host Piers Morgan also commented: “What incredibly sad news, but how typically honest and courageous of @realmissfiona to speak out about it. Lovely lady, wish her and her family all the best as they battle this horrible disease.”

Speaking about her diagnosis, Phillips said that she’d been reluctant to tell Nat, 24, and Mackenzie, 21 – her two sons with This Morning boss Martin Frizell – about her condition.

“I just didn’t want to make a big thing out of it where we all sit down as a family and announce we’ve got something to tell them,” she said.

“And I was worried they might be embarrassed in front of their friends or treat me in a different way. It’s not like I’m doing anything out of character.”

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