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AA Gill Cancer Revelation As Food Critic Opens Up In Cafe Review

It's smoking related despite quitting 15 years ago.

20/11/2016 11:03 | Updated 21 November 2016
David M. Benett via Getty Images
Nicola Formby and AA Gill host a dinner in support of Borne in 2015.

Writer and critic AA Gill has revealed he has cancer.

The 62-year-old describes how he started to lose weight over the summer and felt a pain in his neck.

Doctors told him he had cancer on his spine that had spread from his lungs and was smoking-related despite quitting 15 years ago. 

Or as Gill - full name Adrian Anthony Gill - stoically put it in the intro to a cafe review in The Sunday Times, he has “the full English”.

He writes:

I’ve got cancer. Sorry to drop that onto the breakfast table apropos of nothing at all. Apropos and cancer are rarely found in the same sentence. I wasn’t going to mention it, the way you don’t. In truth, I’ve got an embarrassment of cancer, the full English. There is barely a morsel of offal not included. I have a trucker’s gut-buster, gimpy, malevolent, meaty malignancy.

I’m forbidden from travelling on trains, boats, buses and planes. Nor can I drive. Jeremy Clarkson says this has nothing to do with getting cancer. I’ve been banned from riding a bike — even on grass, added the oncologist unkindly.

There is a silver lining however - Gill has proposed to his partner of 23 years, Nicola Formby.

 

David M. Benett via Getty Images
A.A. Gill, Giles Coren and Jeremy Clarkson attend the launch of A.A. Gill's new book 'Pour Me: A Life' at Daunt Books on November 9, 2015.

She said yes.

They have twins Isaac Mungo and Edith Lara together. Gill has two other children from a marriage to Home Secretary Amber Rudd during the 1990s.

 

 

Gill, an alcoholic, gave up drinking when he was 30 after being told he only had six months to live.

He wrote in the memoir: “It’s not death that terrifies, it’s life.”

Gill is undergoing treatment at Charing Cross Hospital where chemotherapy has shrunk some of his tumours.

Doctors are now considering an experimental drug therapy.

He said: “I realise I don’t have a bucket list; I don’t feel I’ve been cheated of anything.

“I’d like to have gone to Timbuktu, and there are places I will be sorry not to see again.

“But actually, because of the nature of my life and the nature of what happened to me in my early life - my addiction, I know I have been very lucky.

“I gave up [alcohol] when I was still quite young, so it was like being offered the next life. It was the real Willy Wonka golden ticket, I got a really good deal.

“And at the last minute I found something I could do. Somebody said: why don’t you watch television, eat good food and travel and then write about it? And, as lives go, that’s pretty good.”

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