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Long-time U.S. television morning show host, Matt Lauer, who was fired for inappropriate sexual behaviour, has apologised and said the situation made him feel “embarrassed and ashamed.’’

Lauer, who as co-host on the “Today’’ show for more than 20 years became one of the most prominent faces in U.S. television news, issued a statement that was read on air on Thursday.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.

“As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC,’’ Lauer said.

Lauer was fired after network managers received “a detailed complaint from a colleague’’ about his behaviour.

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The network said his sacking came after a female colleague accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour while the two were in Russia to cover the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Lauer, 59, said some of what has been reported is untrue or mischaracterised, but added, “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.’’

He is now committed to beginning the effort to repair the damage, he said.

After Lauer was fired, the New York Times reported that two other women had made complaints about him.

One said he sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001.

NBC later confirmed that two more accusers had come forward.

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