Simon Thomas has revealed a tearful plea from his eight-year-old son convinced him to quit his role at Sky Sports.
The former Blue Peter presenter lost his wife Gemma in December just three days after she had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
The 45-year-old had a demanding role at Sky Sports, presenting football nearly every weekend – and his absence was felt by his son, Ethan.
In a personal blog, Thomas explained: "After many, many weeks of wrestling with the question of what to do, I wanted to put it in writing what I have decided, and it’s with a heavy, but peaceful heart that I write these words: I have decided to leave Sky at the end of the season.
"This is why: firstly and most importantly, I’m doing it for Ethan. On that first morning after Gemma went, I remember Ethan coming up to me in the lounge and through his tears he said these words: ‘Daddy, you know every weekend you go away and do the football, and I spend the weekend with Mummy? What do I do now?’."
"And they have stuck with me ever since."
Tributes have poured in from his colleagues following the announcement.
Managing director of Sky Sports, Barney Francis, said: "Simon has suffered an unspeakable loss and we have done everything we can to ease the burden he is carrying. I spoke to Simon this morning and fully support his decision.
"He is part of our family and always will be even now as he searches for his next path.
"If there is some small positive he can take from this experience it is the courage he has shown in opening up, and for others facing the same challenges I know they will take comfort from his actions and his words."
Sky Sports head of football Gary Hughes said: "Simon has faced a life-changing situation with the same dignity and courage we saw every day when we worked with him.
"He was a great colleague, an important part of our team, but he’s been really honest in what he wants to do next and we support him.
"The whole team will obviously miss him but we are there to help him when he needs us, and the door is very much open if he felt in the future he wanted to talk to us about coming back."
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