BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris will take a break from presenting the station’s flagship country music show after sustaining a torn aorta.
The incident occurred while Harris, 73, was out walking. Harris has walked five miles a day since being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. He said it has given him a level fitness that he is “convinced helped save my life” after suffering the aortic rupture.
The DJ and former Old Grey Whistle Test host, known to fans as “Whispering” Bob Harris, described the moment as “incredibly scary” and thanked the ambulance crew and staff at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. “The aorta is basically the M1 the body and any damage is regarded as extremely serious,” he said in a statement.
Lewis Carnie, head Radio 2, said that everyone at the station wished Harris a “very speedy recovery”. A date has not been set for his return, but Harris said he was “on the road to recovery” and hoped to be back at work “as soon as possible”.
Paul Sexton will stand in for Harris on 13 and 20 June, with further replacement presenters to be announced.
Harris has presented The Country Show since 1998, when he took over from David Allan. In 2011, he was made an OBE for services to music broadcasting. He recently appeared as himself in the film Wild Rose, about a hopeful young country singer from Glasgow.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast in April, Harris said he continued to undergo “quite invasive treatment” to keep his cancer at bay. He said he had no intention stopping his work at Radio 2 not as host music discovery platform Under the Apple Tree.
“The last thing I want to do is put my feet up and stop,” he said. “I think once you do that it’s the beginning the end. I’ve got no intention thinking that way at all.”