Grammy-winning singer Linda Ronstadt has revealed to AARP that she has Parkinson’s disease.
In an interview to be published next week on AARP.org, Ronstadt, 67, says that she realized something was wrong eight years ago when she found herself unable to sing and didn’t know why.
“I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had,” she said. Although the interview excerpt didn’t specify the tick-borne illness Ronstadt has, the AARP linked to a page on Lyme disease.
Ronstadt says she also experienced shaky hands, but thought it was because of an operation she had on her shoulder.
“Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose, so when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, ‘Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,’ I was completely shocked. I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years,” she revealed. “No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how hard you try.”
Ronstadt, 67, said that she was diagnosed eight months ago, long after her symptoms first emerged. According to the AARP interview, she now uses a wheelchair when traveling, and has aid poles to assist her when she walks.
The list of accolades she’s earned is a mile long. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden Globe nominations.
I grew up with Linda’s music. She is very much the soundtrack of my life. My best thoughts are with her and her family. I celebrate her, her spirit and her music.