BBC Radio Manchester’s Jonathan Ali has died

Jonathan Ali who spent 26 years working for the BBC in Manchester, has died from a rare type of bone and tissue cancer.

Jonathan, who was 50, joined BBC GMR as a reporter in April 1993 following a spell at Radio Leicester. He spent most of his career reporting on his home patch of Bolton, Bury and Rochdale, having been brought up in the village of Hawkshaw near Bury.

Known to friends and colleagues as Jali, Jonathan died on Thursday evening at Manchester’s Christie Hospital where he’d undergone treatment for Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

He’d continued to work until recently – including covering news of a fire at the hospital while he was receiving treatment there in 2017.

In addition to his work as a reporter, he was also passionate about local history and even wrote a book about soldiers from Bury who fought and died during the First World War.

Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle gave him credit for the research he did on the subject. Boyle used some of Jonathan’s work to create his own memorial to the war.

Kate Squire, managing editor of BBC Radio Manchester said: “Jonathan, or Jali as everyone called him, was an outstanding journalist; absolutely passionate about local broadcasting and Greater Manchester. His journalism changed things and had a real impact on people.

“He was a hard-working, enthusiastic and intelligent journalist and a kind, loving and funny friend. Our hearts are so heavy. We will miss him terribly and our thoughts are with his family.”

In March Jonathan shared on Facebook that his cancer was terminal, writing: “Well this will be the most difficult Facebook post I will ever write. The scan results were not good today. The prognosis for my future is roughly a year give or take events. I will be going for more treatment to try and hold the tumours and exploring other options. You’ll understand if I don’t reply quickly to comments today. Love to all from Jali.”

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