Derek Watts passed away on Tuesday morning. The renowned veteran journalist and iconic anchor’s passing occurred following a battle with cancer.
Ruda Landman, former co-host of Carte Blanche, confirmed his passing to News24. Watts peacefully departed in a hospital, surrounded by his loved ones.
Although a detailed statement will follow, the family has requested privacy and understanding during this challenging period.
The 74-year-old journalist was diagnosed with skin cancer last year, which had already spread to his lungs.
Watts initially discovered a lump under his arm in 2022 but delayed seeking medical attention. He eventually sought help due to the insistence of his wife, Belinda. The lump had grown significantly by that point, and scans revealed lung spots.
Due to its proximity to nerves, doctors couldn’t surgically remove the lump. His treatment included a year-long immunotherapy course followed by intermittent oxygen use due to decreased lung capacity.
In June 2023, the broadcasting icon announced his step back from Carte Blanche to prioritise his health after surviving a suspected stroke and being diagnosed with severe sepsis. These health challenges further complicated his fight against cancer.
A stalwart of Carte Blanche since its inception in 1988, Watts declared his farewell after a remarkable 35-year tenure. He emphasised his gratitude to fans and his team but expressed his decision not to return to the show.
Watts celebrated for his decades-long contribution to journalism, received numerous awards for his work.
He became a household name with over three decades of experience, and many held him in high esteem across South Africa.
Netwerk 24 received confirmation of Watts’ passing from his daughter, who conveyed his deep appreciation for viewers and his profession.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media, highlighting his indelible impact on journalism and society.
Picture: X / NqobileMaseko
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