Alan Alda is the latest celebrity to publicly admit that they’re battling Parkinson’s Disease. As CNN reports, the 82-year-old revealed on CBS This Morning that he’s been diagnosed with the degenerative neurological ailment. He was actually diagnosed 3.5 years ago, but only today went public with the diagnosis.
“I’ve had a full life since then. I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook, I started this new podcast.”
Alda is not the first celebrity to publicly battle the disease.
Michael J. Fox
The Back to the Future and Family Ties star, now 57, has been battling the disease for 30 years. He was 29-years-old when, in 1991, he was diagnosed with the disease, but he didn’t reveal the diagnosis publicly for another seven years.
According to a 2005 Bravo report, the first few years of the diagnosis were particularly hard on Michael. Devastated by the disease at a young age, and at the height of his career, he sought comfort in alcohol before getting clean.
Since admitting that he’s battling the disease, Fox has been acting here and there but has devoted most of his time to his work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which seeks to educate about the disease and search for a cure.
Ali was 42 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, but signs of the disease – such as trembling hands – were showing as early as the late 1970s. It was hardly surprising that Ali should come down with the disease; being a boxer, he was subject to repeated head trauma, which can be a factor in the development of the disease. One fight, in particular, may have accelerated the disease, according to The New York Times. During his career-ending bout with Larry Holmes, Ali was beaten to within an inch of his life, and the fight was stopped before Holmes literally killed him in the ring.
Ali died in 2016 from septic shock at the age of 74.
In January 2018, at the age of 77, Diamond announced that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. As USA Today reported at the time, he announced that he would be retiring from touring and performing, effective immediately. However, he continues to write and record new music.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
According to The Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurological disease that causes tremors, uncontrolled muscle movements, limb rigidity, and other symptoms. Though mostly appearing in older adults, it can sometimes be diagnosed in younger people, such as Michael J. Fox, as well.
Though it can be treated with medications, as of this writing there is no cure.