MUSIC NEWS - Grammy-winning California/country rock singer Linda Ronstadt recently told AARP that she has Parkinson's disease. In an interview to be published next week on AARP.org, to promote new memoir "Simple Dreams", Ronstadt, 67, the singer says that she realized something was wrong eight years ago when she found herself unable to sing and was unable to figure out 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 told the organization. Although the interview excerpt didn't specify which tick-borne illness Ronstadt has/had, AARP linked to a Lyme Disease webpage.
Ronstadt said she also experienced shaky hands, but thought it may have been 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."
Ms Ronstadt, 67, said that she received the diagnosis eight months ago, some time 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 noted singer has won eleven Grammys, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and won an Emmy, for the PBS special, "Great Performances: Canciones de Mi Padre." She first came to prominence in the 1960s in the southern California rock scene as lead singer of the Stone Poneys before embarking on a solo career. Her hits include "You're No Good," "When Will I Be Loved," "That'll Be the Day," It's So Easy" and "Blue Bayou".
Ronstadt received much press when she dated California Gov. Jerry Brown during his 1980 presidential bid. She was later engaged to "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.
The singer's memoir, "Simple Dreams," will be published September 17, but she informed AARP that the book does not discuss her illness.