Australian television legend Bert Newton is said to be ''doing well' in hospital after being struck down with pneumonia.
A spokeswoman for Newton confirmed the 72-year-old star was admitted to Melbourne's Epworth hospital with the condition last night. ‘‘At the moment he is in hospital. I don’t have many more details than that, but he was admitted to hospital last night,’’ spokeswoman Jackie Booler said this afternoon.
‘‘He has got pneumonia. That’s what he has got, nothing more sinister than that at this stage.’’
A spokeswoman for the hospital could not confirm earlier reports Newton's condition was serious, saying only that he was suffering from viral pneumonia, but was ‘‘doing well’’.
‘‘He himself said to me he is doing well, he is in good spirits,’’ she said.
‘‘He has viral pneumonia, and he is looking forward to getting back to work next week.
‘‘He is certainly not in a critical condition.’'
Newton is believed to have caught the illness from his two-year-old granddaughter Eva and is expected to miss scheduled performances of stage musical Wicked in Perth.
"[Eva] had it when she was first born. She was very ill, and she has recently had another touch of it, entertainment reporter Peter Ford told radio 3AW.
"Bert, who was has been away performing in Wicked in Adelaide, was back in Melbourne and spending lots of time with his little granddaughter because he hadn't seen her for so long. Lots of kisses and cuddles and next thing, Bert's caught it.
"Obviously pneumonia is a dicey illness at the best of times and fingers crossed he's going to be OK, but his condition I'm told is serious. There's no word on when he will be out of hospital or when he can resume his role in Wicked over in Perth," Ford said.
Eva is the daughter of Newton's daughter Lauren and her partner, former Olympic swimmer Matt Welsh.
Newton was due to fly to Perth two days ago but his flight was cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud.
Ms Booler said she had spoken to Newton's wife Patti last night and this morning, however their conversation was brief as she was in the hospital.
The illness is believed to have hit Newton suddenly.‘‘As far I knew everything was fine. I literally just got the call last night,’’ Ms Booler said.
Newton is one of Australia's most loved stars with an entertainment career stretching back decades and across television, theatre and radio.
He has starred in Wicked as the Wizard during the past three years as the musical has toured the country.Newton's manager has been contacted for comment.
Affectionately known as Moonface, Newton's star rose alongside his former colleagues and friends Graham Kennedy and Don Lane as the trio became known as the kings of Australian television.
Newton has won four gold Logies and has hosted the awards ceremony a record number of times.
His career began in radio before breaking into television and appearing in shows including In Melbourne Tonight, The Bert Newton Show, New Faces, Good Morning Australia, and recently 20 to 1.