Lloyd Webber diagnosed with cancer

ANDREW Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, a publicist for the composer and theatre tycoon confirmed yesterday.<br /><br />&ldquo;The condition is in its very early stages,&rdquo; said the publicist. &ldquo;Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year.&rdquo;<br /><br />Lloyd Webber is best known for composing a vast number of successful musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Starlight Express.<br /><br />But the music mogul also owns the&nbsp; thriving theatre company, the Really Useful Group, which operates seven of London&rsquo;s biggest theatres, including the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the London Palladium.<br /><br />Last year, the Really Useful Group posted a near-10 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to &pound;73.1m, with takings from productions up almost &pound;9m to &pound;33.9m despite the turbulent economic backdrop. Lloyd Webber paid himself a dividend of &pound;38m after selling off the group&rsquo;s ticketing arm for &pound;63.5m.<br /><br />The composer, who also owns a number of properties in the UK and abroad and boasts an impressive personal art collection, was ranked 52nd in this year&rsquo;s Sunday Times Rich List, with a personal wealth of around &pound;750m.<br /><br />Lloyd Webber has also recently branched out into other business areas, including hosting a number of lucrative television casting shows for musical theatre such as the BBC&rsquo;s &ldquo;How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?&rdquo; and &ldquo;Any Dream Will Do&rdquo;.<br /><br />He has agreed a contract to work with the BBC again next year to cast the roles of Dorothy and Toto in a new theatrical production of The Wizard of Oz.<br />Lloyd Webber was knighted in 1992 and made an honorary life peer in 1997.