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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Puttnam fighting fatigue sickness
Lord Puttnam
Lord Puttnam produced films such as The Mission
British film-maker David Puttnam has revealed he is suffering from ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

The Oscar-winning producer told the Guardian newspaper his condition was partly responsible for his departure from Columbia Pictures in Hollywood.

A spokeswoman for Lord Puttnam, 63, confirmed that he had been living with the condition for 16 years.

ME commonly causes extreme fatigue, muscle pains and headaches among other symptoms. The exact cause is unknown.

Lord Puttnam was first hit by a bout of ME in 1988.

The producer believes the condition was triggered by a virus, coupled with the strain he had been under during the previous 10 years making films including Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and Bugsy Malone.


"It occurred at exactly the time that things were coming to a head at Columbia Pictures, which was another reason why it was very easy for me to say look - thanks but no thanks.

"It was very much a contributing factor," Lord Puttnam told the Guardian.

He said the illness returned between three and eight times a year for about three days at a time.

Lord Puttnam spoke about the disease for the first time at the request of the charity Action for ME.

Chris Clark, chief executive of the charity, said: "We are delighted that Lord Puttnam has come forward to speak of his life, both before and with ME.

We hope that his story will reach as many people as possible, helping to create a more understanding world for the thousands that must live with ME every day."

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