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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 10:23 GMT
BBC writer Ivan Noble dies at 37
Ivan Noble
Ivan had worked for the BBC News website since 2001
Ivan Noble, the BBC News journalist who has been writing about his treatment for a brain tumour for the past two years, has died aged 37.

Thousands of users of the BBC News website followed regular accounts of his cancer, which last year included a second period of remission.

In November, however, his tumour began to grow again and last month he was admitted to a London hospice.

Ivan died on Monday and leaves a wife and two children.

Pete Clifton, editor of BBC News Interactive, said: "Ivan's column and his tremendous spirit have been an inspiration to all of us - to his many readers around the world and to his colleagues at the BBC.

It's incredible - and humbling - that people are interested in me
Ivan Noble, speaking in December 2004

"He asked to write the diary soon after the original diagnosis. He wanted to talk openly about cancer, to demystify the disease and allow people to talk freely about it. And, as a journalist, he wanted to carry on writing absorbing material for the site. Typically, he delivered on every count.

"The dialogue that opened up between Ivan and the readers was remarkable. We will all miss Ivan, and his column, but I think his humour, bravery and compassion will leave a lasting impression on us all."


Ivan started writing a column about his cancer not long after he was diagnosed in August 2002. There was a huge response from readers, some of which was published with each entry.

Ivan's final column

Many readers sent comments saying that Ivan's openness had helped them come to terms with their own cancer or that of relatives, and Ivan established a close affinity with some of them.

He appreciated the support of readers, saying: "It's incredible and humbling that people are interested in me - and it does me an awful lot of good because it takes me out of myself and makes me think about the job that I do."

In his final column, which he wrote late last year in anticipation of being too ill to continue writing, and which was published last week, he said the feedback people had given him had helped him survive as long as he had.


Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, sent his sympathy to Ivan's wife and children, and said: "The hopes, fears, honesty and courage he shared through his regular diary entries were very moving and truly inspirational. Great advances have been made in cancer research in the last 10 years but, as this sad news highlights, there is still much left to do.

"Ivan's death will, for me, act as a constant reminder of why we need to continue working hard to understand this most complex disease, to effectively treat it and, ultimately, to find a cure for cancer in all its forms."


Following his diagnosis, Ivan had three brain operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He also got married and, while in remission, took the decision with his wife to have a second child, who was born in July last year.

In his columns, however, he jealously guarded the privacy of his family, never referring to them by name.

This was somebody whose bravery and passion for life inspired me
Josie, London, UK

Ivan was born in Leeds in 1967 and was educated at comprehensive schools in Luton and Leeds before studying German at the University of Aston in Birmingham.

He lived in East Germany from 1988 until 1990 where he worked as a translator. After graduation he joined the BBC, initially as a translator, then as a sub-editor in Nairobi.

He became an internet journalism trainer and in 2001 joined the BBC News website science and technology team as a journalist.

A collection of his diaries is to be published later this year by Hodder. Proceeds will go to charity.

Hear BBC editor Pete Clifton's tribute to Ivan Noble



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