Billy Connolly has cancer surgery

media caption"Experts say being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease doesn't need to immediately impact on his work", reports Lizo Mzimba

Comedian and actor Billy Connolly has had surgery for prostate cancer and has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

"The operation was a total success, and Billy is fully recovered," his spokeswoman said.

The 70-year-old Scot began working as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards but quit in the late 1960s to become a folk singer before turning to stand-up.

He has also starred in films including the Oscar-nominated Mrs Brown.

"Billy Connolly recently underwent minor surgery in America after being diagnosed with the very early stages of prostate cancer," his spokeswoman said.

image captionConnolly began his entertainment career in a folk duo

"In addition, Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson's disease, for which he is receiving the appropriate treatment."

She added the star would continue to work as normal.

"Billy has been assured by experts that the findings will in no way inhibit or affect his ability to work, and he will start filming a TV series in the near future, as well as undertaking an extensive theatrical tour of New Zealand in the new year," she said.

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson's UK, said: "Many people, with the right medication, continue to live a full and active life with Parkinson's, but for some, it can be life-changing and it is vital that Billy gets the support he needs to live with this complex condition.

"We salute Billy's bravery in speaking out about his condition at this difficult time."

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: "It is always concerning to hear that anyone is faced with prostate cancer, but it is very good news if Billy Connolly's treatment has been successful and we wish him the best in his recovery."

Singer and campaigner Bob Geldof told Channel 5 News: "He's helped me lots in my endeavours. Pam and Bill are great mates. He's as strong as an ox mentally from everything he's been through as a kid. So I don't think this will deter him from being that individual that we know."

Other recent films in which Connolly has starred include the Oscar-winning animated film Brave where he voiced the lead male character and Quartet, which saw him play a womanising former opera star.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, he said he wanted to stay young at heart: "Stay young. Me? I'm 37! I haven't changed my attitude to things since I was 37."

image captionConnolly has been married to Pamela Stephenson since 1989

He also played a dwarf warrior in the second part of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit franchise and finished filming the third instalment at the end of last year.

In December 2012, the star was given the Bafta Scotland award for outstanding contribution.

Connolly began his stand-up career touring clubs known as the bearded Big Yin.

His Great Northern Welly Boot Show eventually reached the London Palladium.

An appearance on Parkinson in the 1970s helped introduce him to a wider audience, and he later said his appearance on the show changed his life. By 2007 he had appeared on the chat show 12 or 13 times.

He completed his first world tour in 1987, including six nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

In June 1992, Connolly performed his 25th anniversary concert in Glasgow. It was the subject of an episode of The South Bank Show later that year.

In early January 1994, Connolly began a 40-date "world tour of Scotland" which was broadcast by the BBC, and two years later he did a similar tour in Australia which was also broadcast.

His acting career began to take off in the 1990s as he played a Glaswegian hard man in Down Among the Big Boys and then an 18th Century Scottish inventor of the trap-door gallows in Deacon Brodie, both for the BBC.

Connolly has been married twice, and has five children. His second wife is writer, actress, broadcaster and psychotherapist Pamela Stephenson.

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