Ian McKellen reveals he has prostate cancer

The Hobbit actor Ian McKellen has revealed that he has prostate cancer.

Actor who plays LOTR's Gandalf, X-Men's Magneto says he's had it for '6 or 7 years'

Ian McKellen, seen arriving for a New York screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Dec. 6, revealed in an interview that he has prostate cancer. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The Hobbit actor Ian McKellen has revealed that he has prostate cancer.

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Mirror published Tuesday, he revealed that he's had prostate cancer for six or seven years.

The veteran actor, who played the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and reprises the role in The Hobbit, said he was initially alarmed at the diagnosis, but now knows it is not life-threatening.

"When you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn't spread. But if it is contained in the prostate it's no big deal," he said.

"Many, many men die from it, but it's one of the cancers that is totally treatable," added McKellen, who said he is examined regularly and has not needed treatment.

"I have heard of people dying from prostate cancer, and they are the unlucky ones, the people who didn't know they had got it and it went on the rampage. But at my age, if it is diagnosed it's not life threatening," he told the Daily Mirror.

McKellen, 73, is expected at Wednesday's U.K. premiere of The Hobbit in London.

In addition to playing Gandalf, he is known for the role of Magneto in X-Men and received a best actor Oscar nomination for Gods and Monsters. He is also an award-winning stage actor, winning a Tony for Amadeus and four Olivier Awards, including for Richard III.