The veteran presenter was hospitalised after he suffered a suspected stroke in April.
FOR MORE than three decades, Derek Watts has been one of the most trusted and recognised investigative journalists on the small screen.
In April, Watts posted on social media from his hospital bed.
He wrote: “Morning! Looks scary but collapsed with suspected stroke in Hoedspruit 14 days ago and despatched to super pro Mill Park Hospital ICU.
“Diagnosed severe Sepsis which destroyed the bod in an hour! So learning to walk again. But back on your #carteblanche screen asap!”
It has since been confirmed that Watts was diagnosed with skin cancer, which had spread to his lungs.
Despite reassurances of him returning to “Carte Blanche”, it has now been confirmed that that won’t be the case as he is focusing on his recovery.
In a press statement issued after the show aired on Sunday night, “Carte Blanche” executive producer John Webb said: “South African television icon and ‘Carte Blanche’ presenter, Derek Watts will be stepping back from his work to focus on his health.
Last year, Derek was diagnosed with skin cancer that had spread to his lungs. With the support of his family and specialists, he was able to continue doing what he loves best: bringing his cherished viewers the stories that have shaped our country.
“While this news is undoubtedly disheartening, we remain hopeful and optimistic about Derek’s journey toward recovery. We have complete confidence in the expertise and dedication of his medical team, who will provide the best possible care and support throughout this process.
“Derek has touched the lives of many throughout his remarkable career, and his unwavering spirit has been a source of inspiration for all. This was especially clear when, earlier this year, he was hospitalised with severe sepsis.
“Derek took enormous comfort from the thousands of messages he received during his recovery from sepsis.
“Following his cancer diagnosis, I know his resolve will be strengthened by the continued love and support of the people to whom he dedicated his working life. We join all of you in wishing strength and recovery to our patriarch, mentor, colleague, and friend.”
MultiChoice Group CEO of General Entertainment, Nomsa Philiso, joined Mzansi in wishing Watt well on his road to recovery.
She said: “M-Net would like to send a message of support and well-wishes to veteran investigative journalist and long-time ‘Carte Blanche’ presenter Derek Watts.
“We hold him, his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers and wish him strength and courage as he fights this illness. The team at M-Net has the utmost respect and admiration for Derek and his commitment to the channel for the last 36 years.
“Derek’s immense contribution to ‘Carte Blanche’ forms the tapestry and legacy of the M-Net brand. We will continue to support him during this challenging time.”
Watts has been with “Carte Blanche” since inception in 1988 and he became a household name for his intrepid journalism alongside Ruda Landman, who left the show in 2007.
Holding lawbreakers accountable continues to be one of the tenets of the long-running TV show.
Viewers have been assured of updates on his progress and have been asked to respect his privacy as well as that of his loved ones during this time.
In a recent Twitter video post by “Carte Blache”, Watts said: “Hey Mac and Claire, you are doing such a stellar job with the show, along with the rest of the team.
“Another short hospital stay but I will be out of here soon. And I really just wanted to say to our viewers: ‘Thank you for all the love, the messages, the prayers that give us all hope.
“’And, thanks, of course, for continuing to watch ‘Carte Blanche’. And I’ll be back soon. But a magic week and cheers for now.’”
Viewers have also wished Watts’ well on his recovery.
@swank_ZA wrote: “I wish #DerekWatts good health, so much so that he’ll soon swing his jacket high above his head again.”
@The_Leong_King posted: “Wishing Carte Blanche’s Derek Watts physical & mental strength & endurance for his upcoming war of attrition against skin & lung cancer. It’s a tough, long internal civil war. I’ve been fighting cancer for 6 years. @carteblanchetv #DerekWatts #Cancer”
@AnnetteMrsSA wrote: “@carteblanchetv keeping you in our prayers @DerekWatts May God bless you with a speedy recovery and keep His healing hands on you. #beblessed #derekwatts #CarteBlanche”