UTV's Julian Simmons has heart bypass
UTV presenter Julian Simmons has undergone major heart surgery and is recovering in hospital.
The charismatic continuity announcer, known for his colloquial language and comic delivery, is recovering in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass.
The UTV favourite, who has been with the station for almost 30 years, had become a big fitness fan recently, favouring long brisk walks in the great outdoors.
Julian is one of only a handful of continuity announcers in the UK with an on-screen appearance, rather than just his voice being heard. His animated facial expressions and legendary musings before the start of Coronation Street have endeared him to fans of the soap and the station.
It is believed that until recently Julian had enjoyed a reasonable standard of health. In a previous interview with the Belfast Telegraph, singleton Julian said he was a night owl who enjoyed a good sleep and drank plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Following an allergy test in 2009, Julian discovered he could no longer have milk, cheese or butter and he also cut back on bread.
He said: "The body you have is like a spacesuit for this life, then you shed it when you die."
It is obvious that Julian's fans have missed him on our screens, with one fan of the 'I love Julian Simmons from UTV' Facebook page asking: "When are you coming back on a Friday night? I miss the craic about Corrie and I miss you."
Another fan from outside Northern Ireland added: "Whenever I go over to visit family, my trip is not complete unless I have seen Julian doing his superb link for Corrie! Legend!"
Belfast Trust said it was unable to comment on his condition.
Julian Simmons was born in Belfast in 1952 to Alan and Pearl.
An only child, Julian's father died when he was 12 years old and his mother passed away in 2006, aged 93.
He is an alumnus of Methodist College in Belfast and worked for Air Canada from 1978 to 1997.
He has worked at UTV for over 25 years and is a permanent feature at the weekends.
Catchphrases include, "And now on UTV..." and "What about ye?"