Police looking for missing Mail columnist Dr Michael Mosley are investigating the discovery of a body close to an area known as The Abyss.

The body was found by staff at a nearby beach bar after being alerted by the mayor who had spotted something ‘unusual’ from the sea. The body was found at Agia Marina around 30 minutes walk from Pedi where he was last seen.

On Saturday a Greek fire brigade helicopter hovered overhead the spot where the body was found.

Police arrived around 20 minutes after it had been discovered – around 100 metres from the shoreline.

A short while later a coastguard boat arrived and anchored just off the beach while a small tender with more officers to the scene.

Mayor Eleftherios Papakaloudoukas had accompanied media to Agia Marina but was on his way back to Pedi when he looked back and saw something unusual on the rocks.

He then called the beach restaurant and alerted staff who rushed over towards what he had seen with a group of British journalists who had remained behind.

Police believed Dr Mosley was seen on CCTV in the town of Pedi before making a wrong turn along a path heading north, on the island of Symi

Police believed Dr Mosley was seen on CCTV in the town of Pedi before making a wrong turn along a path heading north, on the island of Symi 

This is the picture of Dr Mosley posted with an appeal after he went missing while walking on holiday in Greece on Wednesday

This is the picture of Dr Mosley posted with an appeal after he went missing while walking on holiday in Greece on Wednesday

The resort of Agia Marina, the location where a body was found

The resort of Agia Marina, the location where a body was found

The waiter who found the body on the Greek island of Symi

The waiter who found the body on the Greek island of Symi 

Mayor of Syimi Eleftherios Papakalodouka who alerted the beach resort manager after he thought he saw something 'unusual' from the sea

Mayor of Syimi Eleftherios Papakalodouka who alerted the beach resort manager after he thought he saw something ‘unusual’ from the sea

Dr Mosley was reported missing by Dr Clare Bailey, his wife of nearly 40 years (they are pictured together in Buckinghamshire in June 2013)

Dr Mosley was reported missing by Dr Clare Bailey, his wife of nearly 40 years (they are pictured together in Buckinghamshire in June 2013)

Firefighters on a beach during a search for Dr Mosley yesterday on the Greek island of Symi

Firefighters on a beach during a search for Dr Mosley yesterday on the Greek island of Symi 

Officials said the coroner had been informed and was travelling to Symi from Rhodes. 

A major operation was launched to find the doctor after he vanished while hiking alone in blistering 36C (97F) heat on Wednesday.

His wife Dr Clare Bailey, 62, raised the alarm when he failed to return home by 7.30pm and local authorities began tracing his route overnight. 

Dr Mosley, 67, was one of Britain’s best known medics, whose revolutionary diet advice made him beloved by millions of Daily Mail readers and TV viewers.

Known for his open nature and effervescent personality, he achieved worldwide renown for popularising the 5:2 diet and released a string of best-selling books.  

Police first filed a missing person report for Dr Mosley at 10.30am on Thursday and by midday each of the emergency services in Greece had joined the search on the tiny island of Symi. 

The medic was seen leaving Saint Nicholas beach towards the town of Pedi, via a rocky path with steep sections.

CCTV footage showed him passing a café in the town, northeast of the holiday island of Symi.

Police believed Dr Mosley was likely hiking towards the town of Symi, due west of Pedi, but took a wrong turn and ended up on a ‘dangerous’ mountain path heading north.

The coastguard scoured the sea as the fire brigade searched the remote island’s forests and hills – with volunteers also assisting with the effort.

On Saturday, Dr Mosley’s four children arrived on the island to join the searches.

Mosley’s wife, Dr ClareBailey, had been searching the island joined by her British friends.

Earlier, investigators had questioned restaurant owners and shopkeepers ok the picturesque fishing village and examined CCTV footage.

Hopes were raised after a man matching his description and wearing the same clothes was spotted walking along the waterside at around 4.30pm on Wednesday with a woman.

Police and Dr Bailey rushed to the Katsaras restaurant to look at the footage and despite the amazing similarity it was ruled out after she said it was not her husband.

Dr Mosley and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town.

The two couples took a boat up the coast on Wednesday morning. They stopped at Saint Nicholas beach where the diet doctor, a father of four, went for a swim in the sea before deciding to walk the 2.2 miles back home at 1.30pm.

He had left his phone at their friends’ home, and when Dr Bailey and the couple returned to the property, they found that Dr Mosley had not returned and his mobile was where he left it.

After the alarm was raised, a woman reported seeing Dr Mosley walking past a bus stop in Pedi, halfway between Saint Nicholas beach and Symi Town. There were also claims he was seen talking to someone.

The diet guru's wife, Dr Clare Bailey (pictured together), a GP and also a columnist for the Mail, raised the alarm after her husband failed to return from a hike

The diet guru’s wife, Dr Clare Bailey (pictured together), a GP and also a columnist for the Mail, raised the alarm after her husband failed to return from a hike

A helicopter taking part in search operations for Dr Mosley

A helicopter taking part in search operations for Dr Mosley

Terrain near the pathway to St Nicholas Beach, where Dr Mosley set off hiking on Wednesday

Terrain near the pathway to St Nicholas Beach, where Dr Mosley set off hiking on Wednesday 

Dr Mosley was on holiday with his wife in Symi (pictured) after they completed a nationwide tour together called: Eat (well), Sleep (better), Live (longer)

Symi mayor Lefteris Papakalodoukas said the area where the presenter went missing was considered ‘difficult as it is quite rocky’.

‘He came back from the beach, some people saw him but then his tracks were lost,’ he said, adding that Dr Mosley ‘wanted to walk back from the beach, but that’s a distance of about an hour and a half and there are shortcuts he may have taken’.

Mr Papakalodoukas added: ‘The British broadcaster has come for holiday with his wife and is being hosted by a couple of their friends on our island. We know he had gone for a swim… but because he likes hiking and the area, he (decided he) would walk back.

‘Some witnesses said he was seen returning to Pedi and talking to another person. All of these are testimonies that are being investigated at the moment.’

Mr Papakalodoukas told the local paper, Kathimerini, that the high temperatures on the island on Wednesday were ‘unbearable’ and that ‘one could easily faint in such conditions’. An excessive heat warning was issued by the Greek meteorological service on the day Mr Mosley went missing.

Born in Calcutta, India, Dr Mosley attended boarding school in England before reading PPE at Oxford. He tried his hand at investment banking but retrained as a doctor before joining the BBC as an assistant trainee producer. 

He married Clare Bailey in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they had four children together. 

Dr Mosley made a string of science and history documentaries over 25 years, rising to become a presenter and an executive producer at the corporation.

In his journalistic career he has worked alongside the likes of John Cleese, Jeremy Clarkson, Professor Robert Winston and Sir David Attenborough.

His career on screen was spent challenging stale ideas, bringing his talents of wit, gusto and lateral thinking to testing theories – often on himself.   

His sense of adventure and unquenchable scientific curiosity sometimes led him to put himself in danger by accident, although – as yet – there is no way of knowing if this irrepressible side to his character contributed in any way to his disappearance.

Dr Mosley (pictured) and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town

Dr Mosley (pictured) and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town

Dr Mosley married Clare (pictured together) in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they shared four children together

Dr Mosley married Clare (pictured together) in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they shared four children together

The Junk Food Experiment in 2019 was one of Dr Mosley's most interesting science TV projects

The Junk Food Experiment in 2019 was one of Dr Mosley’s most interesting science TV projects

On one previous holiday, he ended up in hospital with total memory loss, thanks to a fascination with the health benefits of extreme cold. After interviewing the Dutch guru Wim Hof, who advocates immersing the body in ice-cold water, he decided to test the theory on himself.

At first he began turning the tap to ‘cold’ in his shower and enduring the blast for 40 seconds.

Then, after researching the science more deeply, he began to experiment with volunteers — testing the different pain thresholds of subjects by asking them to plunge their hands into ice buckets, for example.

As with all his research, he never asked anyone to attempt a trial that he had not done himself.

Then disaster struck. On a family holiday to Cornwall in 2021, he went out on a boat with his wife, Dr Clare Bailey — also a Daily Mail columnist — and decided to swim back to shore. The chilly Atlantic waters sent his nervous system into shock.

‘I thought, I’m going to beat Clare back to shore,’ he recalled last year. ‘The next thing I know, I’m in casualty. Apparently I’ve swum back, Clare has caught up, but I was looking really vacant and I clearly had no idea who she is or who I am or where I am. Though I kept on repeating: ‘I have a wife and four children.’

‘I got a thorough examination and the consultant said: ‘You have something called transient global amnesia, which is relatively rare — but it’s brought on by swimming in cold water.’

‘It’s caused by a change in blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. My memory banks were entirely wiped for about two or three hours and then gradually came back.’

Despite this, he continued to experiment with ice-cold showers. 

Dr Mosley is perhaps best known for promoting the 5:2 theory — the radical idea that, by fasting on two days a week, it was possible to eat normally on the other five (and even indulge in sugary, fatty treats) and lose weight in dramatic style.

Forced into starvation mode, the body starts burning its own fat to survive — so that excess calories pass through the system instead of turning to flab.

Though initially greeted by most nutritionists with scepticism, who dismissed the diet as too good to be true, the method proved spectacularly successful for Dr Mosley himself.

His book The Fast Diet, co-written with journalist Mimi Spencer and published in 2012, recommended a stringent regime on two days a week, with just 600 calories for men and 500 for women.

Dr Mosley was well known for his health advice, particularly on fasting, diet and sleep

Dr Mosley was well known for his health advice, particularly on fasting, diet and sleep

Celebrities who adopted it reported astonishing results. The US comedian Jimmy Kimmel shed 25 lb (nearly 2 st) in a few months. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch used the method to achieve his hollow-cheeked look for the BBC1 drama Sherlock.

Dr Mosley first decided to investigate the diet after a blood test revealed he was in the early stages of type 2 diabetes.

‘That was a nasty shock,’ he said, ‘because my overweight dad had developed diabetes in his 50s and died of diabetes-related illnesses at the relatively young age of 74. I didn’t want to go down the same path.

‘So I set out to find out if there was a drug-free way to ‘cure’ my diabetes. Periodic fasting sounded so interesting that I persuaded the BBC to let me make a science documentary with myself as the guinea pig. It was called Eat, Fast And Live Longer.’

The programme, shown as part of BBC2’s documentary series Horizon, featured interviews with experts such as Professor Valter Longo from the University of Southern California and Dr Krista Varady from the University of Illinois.

That became the template for a series of shows, bolstered by the remarkable personal success of his 5:2 diet — he lost 20 lb and his blood sugar levels fell to normal, safe levels.

‘This was revolutionary stuff,’ he said, ‘as most doctors believe type 2 diabetes is incurable and that the only way to treat it is with drugs.’

His results were so dramatic that the NHS website, which had initially dismissed 5:2 as a ‘fad diet’, added it to its ‘Top Diets review’, and said: ‘Sticking to a regimen for two days a week can be more achievable than seven days, so you may be more likely to persevere and lose weight.’

Dr Mosley became an evangelist for the method, promoting it in this newspaper.

Dr Mosley with his wife Clare on their wedding day in 1987 nearly 40 years ago

Dr Mosley with his wife Clare on their wedding day in 1987 nearly 40 years ago

Further research revealed what made the regime so effective, he said. ‘The main reason I managed to knock my diabetes on the head was that I had lost a lot of weight, fast. Professor Roy Taylor, a diabetes specialist at Newcastle University, has done studies showing that if you lose over 10 per cent of your body weight (which I had), the fat is drained from your liver and pancreas, and your body is restored to its former health.’

He refined the diet, raising the calorie limit to 800 on fast days, and urging people to go 14 hours a day without eating — having an evening meal at 6 pm, for example, and then fasting until breakfast at 8 am. For those who needed a crash diet, he recommended 800 calories every day for weeks or even months.

All this flew in the face of traditional advice, which was based on cutting out fats and carbohydrates, and restricting calorie intake without actually fasting.

Known for his open nature, Dr Mosley did not shy away from discussing the worst threat to his health — chronic insomnia, caused by stress as well as a genetic predisposition. ‘I suffer from catastrophic thinking,’ he told the Mail five years ago.

‘I used to worry about the children when they were younger. Now that they have all turned out OK, I worry about my work — did I say the wrong thing on a chat show, write the wrong thing in a book? What if someone loses too much weight and makes themselves ill? My work is utterly rooted in science, but people are people and they can do crazy things.’

Insomnia became such a burden that he published a book, 4 Weeks To Better Sleep, detailing all the systems he had tried. His conclusion was that what mattered most was not how many hours we spend in bed, but the quality of the sleep itself — what he called ‘your sleep efficiency’.

Long hours of wakefulness and a natural inclination to philosophy forced him to confront life’s toughest questions.

Dr Mosley (top, right) with his parents and brother in Hong Kong in 1962 posing together

Dr Mosley (top, right) with his parents and brother in Hong Kong in 1962 posing together

He sometimes talked to journalists with characteristic insouciance about death: ‘I would like to die surfing or sky‑diving. I wouldn’t mind falling off my bike and going under a bus either, something short and sharp — with apologies to the driver.

‘Would I ever kill myself? I would not rule it out. I can imagine things going badly wrong, a catastrophic illness, a stroke, a cancer. I would not want to be a burden but it would utterly depend on Clare. It’s a decision I would take with her.’

Dr Mosley’s enthusiasm was legendary. One friend said: ‘Michael never stops talking. He’s like a podcast on legs.’

Filming a segment on the physiology of fear for one among his dozens of shows, he defied his claustrophobia by going caving — and became wedged in a crack in the rocks.

‘I absolutely freaked,’ he admitted. ‘It obviously made good television because there was a lot of screaming.’

After that, though, he felt uncomfortable even in lifts and planes, and was unable to go through with an MRI brain examination inside a coffin-like scanner.

For a documentary called The Wonderful World Of Blood, he made and ate a black pudding using his own red corpuscles.

‘I don’t think it will take off as a national dish,’ he announced, ‘but it’s pretty nutritious — rich in iron, protein and vitamin C.’

Despite his self-proclaimed ‘squareness’, he ingested psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, in a laboratory-controlled test to discover its effect on the brain — ‘Like going into hyperdrive on Star Trek,’ he concluded.

All these programmes were sideshows, however, compared to the great project of his career, the fasting diet.

‘I’m 100 per cent evangelical about this,’ he often declared. ‘One of the big medical myths is that a fast diet won’t work. But all the evidence now is that rapid weight loss is effective. People are very interested in this stuff. They know it can alter the trajectory of their life.’

Countless fans have had their lives transformed by his enthusiasm, his free-thinking and eccentric readiness to take risks. Meeting them was one of the great pleasures of his life, he said.

‘I love chatting. People often stop me in the street, and I really enjoy finding out what’s going on with them. It’s a fantastic feeling when people tell you that you have helped to turn their lives around.’

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