Hartson battles cancer
© Getty Images

Former Wales and Celtic striker John Hartson has been diagnosed with cancer, it was revealed on Monday.

The 34-year-old attended Swansea's Singleton Hospital on Friday "displaying symptoms consistent with testicular cancer" and further tests have revealed the disease has spread to his brain.

Dr Gianfilippo Bertelli, consultant medical oncologist at ABM University NHS Trust in Swansea, said: "We are awaiting the results of further tests to establish a full picture of Mr Hartson's diagnosis.

"We will be commencing a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy as soon as possible and foresee many months of treatment. Mr Hartson will continue under the care of the specialist consultant oncologists as we aim for a positive outcome from this treatment."

The statement, issued through the hospital, also carried words of support from his family and friends. "All the family, and John's friends, are doing all we can to support him and praying that he will make a full recovery," the statement said.

It is very difficult for us to understand what John is going through at the moment, but we will offer any support we can to a great Celtic player.
Celtic statement

"John is getting excellent care from the oncologists at the hospital as he begins his treatment. John is a family man and we appreciate all the messages of support we have already received."

Celtic were quick to offer their support to their former player. Hartson was signed by Martin O'Neill in 2001 and was a popular figure with fans during the five years he spent at Parkhead. During that time, he scored 89 league goals for Celtic and was voted Player of the Year by both his fellow professionals and the Scottish Football Writers Association.

A Celtic spokesperson told the club's official website: "John Hartson is a man whom Celtic Football Club has immense respect and affection for. He has served the club, and the game of football in general, with distinction over many years.

"Clearly, everyone at the club fully supports John and his family at this extremely difficult time. It is very difficult for us to understand what John is going through at the moment, but we will offer any support we can to a great Celtic player."

Hartson was capped 51 times for Wales. He went from Glasgow to West Bromwich Albion and retired last year.