'Fiona Phillips is a kind soul': Lorraine Kelly pens heartfelt message as GMTV host reveals Alzheimer's diagnosis

The former GMTV presenter was diagnosed after initially thinking her brain fog symptoms were a sign of the menopause

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Lorraine Kelly is among the celebrities who have offered their words of support after Fiona Phillips revealed that she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The former GMTV presenter, 62, from Canterbury, revealed yesterday that her diagnosis came as a “shock” as she had initially feared her symptoms of brain fog and confusion were related to the menopause.

She said the disease has “ravaged” her family with her mum, dad, grandparents and uncle all crippled with it. Lorraine, 63, from Glasgow, took to Twitter to pen a heartfelt message following Fiona’s devastating news.

The ITV daytime host wrote: “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.”

Lorraine Kelly offers support to Fiona Phillips (Getty Images) Lorraine Kelly offers support to Fiona Phillips (Getty Images)
Lorraine Kelly offers support to Fiona Phillips (Getty Images)

Over 4,000 people liked Lorraine’s tweet with many writing comments about how Alzheimer's has impacted the lives of people close to them. The Alzheimer’s Society states over 850,000 people in the UK were suffering with the disease in a study in 2019. 

Lorraine praised Fiona’s bravery on her show this morning, saying: “It is really sad news but she's been amazing, as you would expect. She's been really brave, she's been really optimistic as she always would be, but it's a cruel, horrible disease.”

Fiona, who is set to undergo trials for a new drug which scientists hope could slow or even reverse the illness, told The Mirror that she hopes to help find a cure that can improve the lives of others diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the future. The columnist revealed that she thought that she might get the disease at 80 but felt “angry” to have been diagnosed at just 61. 

Fiona admitted that she was worried about being judged and labelled after sharing her diagnosis and so chose to keep it a secret for the past 18 months. “There is still an issue with this disease that the public thinks of old people, bending over a stick, talking to themselves," says Fiona. “But I’m still here, getting out and about, meeting friends for coffee, going for dinner with Martin and walking every day.”

Fiona is married to This Morning boss, Martin Frizell, 64, and they share two children, Nat, 24, and Mackenzie, 21. The mother-of-two, who co-hosted ITV's GMTV for a decade from the late 1990s, has also received support from her ITV colleagues and friends Dr Hilary Jones and Susanna Reid. 

According to the NHS there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, however there are a number of medicines available that can help to ease symptoms. Memory lapses, confusion and changes in mood are among symptoms, while hallucinations and delusions are associated with later stages of Alzheimer’s.