Ivan Noble 1967-2005

By Jamie Mullen

BBC journalist Ivan Noble, who has written a diary for BBC News Online since developing brain cancer, has died aged 37.

The tragic news ends the blog that Noble faithfully maintained,
outlining his experiences of his illness since he was diagnosed in 2002.

Noble,
who was science and technology writer for BBC News, asked to write the
diary soon after. He wanted to talk openly about cancer, demystifying
the disease and allowing people to talk freely about it.

As a journalist, it was his aim to write engaging and illuminating material for as long as his illness permitted.

“I
was not sure if what I wrote would be any good,” said Nobel about the
blog. “I was not sure if anyone would read it but I wanted to try. I
also very much wanted to use the diary to maintain my link with my job
if I was not well enough to work.”

The diary, which included a
touching entry on the birth of Noble’s son last year, recorded a broad
spectrum of emotion from the author and allowed readers to share their
thoughts and support.

In his last entry, which was logged on 30
January, only a day before his death (but written in advance), Noble
reflected on the reasons that caused him to write about his
experiences, admitting that the confessional nature of the diary was
not something he ever planned.

“That personal style of journalism
was never something I was particularly attracted to or interested in
reading myself, but when I was diagnosed back in 2002 I had a strong
urge to fight back against what felt like the powerlessness of the
situation. I really wanted to try to make something good out of bad.”

The
response the diary received was huge, with vast numbers of readers
submitting emotional replies to Noble’s last entries. The diary offered
a source of hope to both those who suffered from terminal disease and
to relatives or friends coping with loss or illness.

“The dialogue that opened up between Ivan and the readers was remarkable,” said Pete Clifton, editor of BBC News Interactive.

“We
will all miss Ivan and his column, but I think his humour, bravery and
compassion will leave a lasting impression on us all.”

Ivan Noble’s diaries are due to be published, with all proceeds going to charity.

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