Ted Turner Reveals He Has Lewy Body Dementia

The media mogul opened up about his health to Ted Koppel.

Ted Turner, April 29, 2012
Charles Eshelman / Getty Images

The media mogul opened up about his health to Ted Koppel.

In a new interview, media mogul Ted Turner revealed that he has the progressive brain disorder Lewy body dementia. The founder of CNN talked about his condition with Ted Koppel on CBS Sunday Morning, reported Deadline.

“It’s a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer’s — it’s similar to that, but not nearly as bad,” the 79-year-old said during the television interview, which was filmed at his 113,000-acre ranch near Bozeman, Montana.

“Alzheimer’s is fatal. Thank goodness I don’t have that.”

Turner said that his main symptoms are tiredness, exhaustion, and forgetfulness.

“[Lewy body dementia] is an umbrella term for dementia associated with the presence of Lewy bodies, abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein, in the brain,” explained the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

The disorder affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans, occurring slightly more in men than women, and is the second most common form of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It affects multiple body functions, including thinking, movement, behavior, and sleep.

Often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, the organization said that “early and accurate diagnosis,” through various physical and neurological examinations, is very important because patients given medications for similar conditions can worsen Lewy body dementia symptoms.

In addition to medication, the Lewy Body Dementia Association said treatment can include therapies, exercises, and changes to the patient’s diet and sleep habits.

Right now, there is no cure for the disorder, and a lot of research is still necessary to understand it completely.

After comedian and actor Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014, the medical examiner’s report revealed that he was actually suffering from Lewy body dementia and not Parkinson’s disease, which he was previously diagnosed with.

Turner began his rise to being a billionaire in the 1960s when he took over his father’s outdoor advertising business after the man committed suicide. In addition to CNN, he also launched the popular cable networks TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and the Cartoon Network. He is the previous owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He is also the co-founder of the Ted’s Montana Grill restaurant chain.

The well-known philanthropist has been married three times, including a highly-publicized marriage to 9 to 5 actress Jane Fonda from 1991 to 2001. He has five children.

Turner’s full interview, in which he also discusses other aspects of his life, airs on CBS Sunday Morning on Sunday, September 30, at 9 a.m. on CBS.