2GB broadcaster Alan Jones forced off air indefinitely over health concerns

2GB radio presenters Alan Jones and Ray Hadley with shareholder John Singleton on Tuesday. Photo: Ben RushtonOutspoken broadcaster Alan Jones will be forced off-air indefinitely for major back surgery, sparking concerns by colleagues over his recent run of ill health.

The top-rating breakfast presenter and TV host, who is reliant on a walking stick, told staff at Sydney station 2GB that he will take indefinite leave from November 21 to be “sliced and diced” by doctors. “I have had all sorts of problems for a lot of years and it’s just got hopeless at the moment,” he said.

“I have had in the past three interventions in my back and now the thing has got chronic, so I am in for some major surgery. I wanted to leave it until the end of the year but unfortunately I can’t because of the pain. Pain has never killed anyone by the way, but this has got out of control.”

Jones, who is thought to be 75, told Fairfax Media that his back problems started during his time as coach of the Australian rugby team in the 1980s and had worsened. “I used to get injections in my spine every three months and that would give me some sort of relief but none of that is working,” he said.

He said he hoped to be back on air within “weeks, not months” after his operation. “You’ve got to be tough. You just take a tablespoon full of cement and toughen up.”

The veteran broadcaster also rejected rumours that his recent weight loss was the result of cancer. Jones said that he had deliberately slimmed down after doctors warned him in March that he had become insulin resistant and was at risk of diabetes.

“I was very lucky when I went to see someone some months ago about my back that the blood tests were taken,” he said. “So I am not dying of cancer, much to the dismay and chagrin of my critics. I hope they get me off that slab … I plan to be back.”

Jones is unlikely to return to work in time for the release of the year’s final radio ratings survey, on December 13, which is expected to mark his 200th career win across stations 2GB and 2UE, which are co-owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Fellow 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley said he was concerned about his long-time colleague’s recent ill health. “He’s a good mate, I’m very worried about him,” he said.

“[But] he’s coming back, it’s not as if he’s disappearing, he’s just having some surgery on his back. His listeners are tremendously loyal … They’re not going anywhere as long as they know he’s coming back fit and well.”

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