Lauer co-hosted the “Today’’ show for more than 20 years (photo: Radar)

Prominent US television morning show host Matt Lauer has apologised over accusation of inappropriate sexual behaviour, saying he feels “embarrassed and ashamed.’’

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

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The NBC said it sacked Lauer after a female colleague accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour while the two were in Russia to cover the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“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,” Lauer, who co-hosted the “Today’’ show for more than 20 years, said in a statement read on air on Thursday.

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

Although the 59-year-old said some of what has been reported is untrue or mischaracterised, he 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.’’