CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has used Twitter to thank fans for their support after coming out as gay.

The 45-year-old broadcaster, who announced he was gay on Monday, wrote: “I appreciate all the nice tweets. I am in Botswana working but want to wish everyone a great 4th of July!”

Cooper confirmed his sexual orientation in an email to the Daily Beast, which he allowed to be published this week.

He wrote: “Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own.”

He said he had come to consider, however, whether “the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle”.

Adding that homophobic bullying remains a huge problem, Cooper said he was “distressed” that his silence could be construed as him “trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid”.