Muriel Gray, the chair of the Glasgow School of Art, has announced she is to step down from her role for a "temporary period."

Ms Gray is to take time away from the role as chair and governor for "personal family reasons", she said.

The broadcaster and author has been chair of the board since 2013.

The recent history of the GSA has been dominated by two fires at the Mackintosh Building, in 2014 and in June last year.

In a statement, Ms Gray says: "Given the challenges the School has faced over the past twelve months this was an incredibly difficult decision to take.

"The Glasgow School of Art is an amazing institution, full of remarkable, committed and creative people who continually give above and beyond, and I look forward to working with everyone again during the next academic year.

"Professor Nora Kearney, currently Vice-Chair, will take over as interim chair in my absence."

Ms Gray's husband Hamish Barbour, managing director of the television programme producers IWC, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

He has recently taken part in a charity walk from the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow to Ben Nevis to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Charity.

Followers of Ms Gray's Twitter feed have been able to follow the progress of the walk, including reaching the summit of Ben Nevis at the beginning of June.

On his fund-raising page for the walk, Mr Barbour has written about cancer and why he had undertaken the journey.

He says: "When I arrived at The Beatson in late 2017 I’d just been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, stage 4.

"I didn’t even what that was; I’d recently run a marathon and, apart from a sore shoulder, felt pretty good.

"I was quickly put on cutting-edge immunotherapy drugs. That’s when, with the massive support of The Beatson, I started my fight back against the disease.

"I’ve had my ups and downs since then, but throughout it all the unique, world-class team of individuals at The Beatson have treated, cared for and supported me every step of the way."

It is understood Ms Gray's absence is linked to her husband's health.

It is nearly a year since the second disastrous fire at the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art on June 16.

Ms Gray, also an author and television presenter, and a graduate of the school, has been much in the news since that fire, which left the historic building gutted.

The causes of the fire have yet to be established formally by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

It is understood that investigators still wish to probe areas of the Mackintosh Building, including the basement area.

Ms Gray has been a stalwart defender of the GSA's treatment of the building before and after the fire.

Last September she said that the Mackintosh Building could be rebuilt, albeit over four to seven years, using Charles Rennie Mackintosh's original plans.

Original plans from the Mackintosh Building, built in two stages between 1896 and 1909, are held in the GSA's stores and at the Hunterian at Glasgow University, and the school also has digital plan, called a BIM Model, from the restoration work following the 2014 fire.

Ms Gray said: "This time it will be built with such knowledge and expertise that we have learned since 2014.

"We are resolved that the Mackintosh comes back as a working art school, as a major player, a cultural leader for the city and the Scottish economy."

The chair appeared at the Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament hearings last year.

Those hearings led to a critical MSP report into the GSA's treatment of the Mackintosh Building, which also suffered a fire in 2014.

The MSP report called for a full judicial inquiry in the two fires at the building, and raised the question of the building being run by a Trust, rather than the GSA.

The GSA responded to the MSP report, questioning and querying some of its findings, and in turn, last week the Culture Committee responded.

The Culture Committee, which is led by convenor Joan McAlpine MSP, says: "The recommendations made in the Committee’s report are based on the balance of evidence provided over the course of the inquiry taking cognisance of the views of a variety of parties with a range of experience and expertise.

"The Committee is therefore extremely disappointed that the GSA’s response seeks to question the credibility of the evidence provided by some of the witnesses."