Bob Wilson, former goalkeeper and veteran broadcaster, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He is set to undergo treatment for the disease, which can include keyhole surgery and radiotherapy, and is said to be confident that he will return to public life soon.
Wilson signed for Arsenal in 1963 after playing a number of reserve games for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wilson, 72, who made 234 appearances for Arsenal in the 1960s and 1970s and represented Scotland, has cancelled all upcoming work and charity commitments.
The pundit retired from playing in 1974 but took up a role as a goalkeeping coach with Arsenal for several years. He then went on to work as a television presenter for the BBC and ITV.
He said: “I am very confident that the treatment I am receiving will prove successful and kindly ask that my privacy is respected at this time.”
Sadly, Mr Wilson’s daughter Anna died in 1998, at the age of 31, from a rare form of cancer. Following her death Mr Wilson set up the Willow Foundation charity with his wife.
A Prostate Cancer UK spokesperson said: “We send Bob Wilson our best wishes in his fight against prostate cancer.
“A key figure in the football world, he has already been affected by the tragic consequences of cancer, and his tireless work for the Willow Foundation, set up in the memory of his late daughter, continues to this day.
“It says everything of the man that he has already pledged to return to those efforts as soon as he can.
“Prostate cancer is an opponent like no other. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK and affects one in eight men in the UK.
“Our Men United v Prostate Cancer campaign aims to raise awareness and intensify the search for more reliable tests and treatments.
“The football family stands behind Bob, and we offer him and his family our support and best wishes at this important time.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in UK men, with the number of sufferers on the rise. In the UK every year more than 40,000 men are diagnosed with the disease.