Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 18:07 UK

Newman says he is 'doing nicely'

Paul Newman
Paul Newman announced his retirement from acting last year

Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman has responded to unconfirmed reports he is gravely ill with cancer.

The star issued a statement through his spokesman, who told journalists: "Newman says he's doing nicely."

Several websites and US TV stations claimed the actor had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was undergoing out-patient treatment in New York.

His business partner AE Hotchner told reporters that Newman, 83, had been battling cancer for at least 18 months.

Mr Hotchner, who helped the actor launch his Newman's Own salad dressing line in the 1980s, said the star had undergone surgery "somewhere in the area of the lung" some years back.

"I know it's a form of cancer and he's dealing with it," he told the Associated Press news agency.

'Everybody is hopeful'

"He's battling," Mr Hotchner added. "He's doing all the right stuff. Paul is a fighter. He seems to be going through a good period right now."

Asked about Newman's prognosis, Hotchner said: "Everybody is hopeful. That's all we know."

Newman starred in films like The Color of Money and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

In May 2007, he announced he was to give up acting, and said he was no longer able to perform to the best of his ability.

"I'm not able to work anymore... at the level that I would want to," he told US broadcaster ABC.

Last month, he pulled out of directing a stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in Connecticut because of unspecified health problems.

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