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Parkinson's disease robs Linda Ronstadt of her ability to sing

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Multi-millionaire singer Linda Ronstadt came out last week to say that she has Parkinson's disease, and can no longer sing. The 67-year-old singer, with a dynamic vocal range, says she began experiencing symptoms around eight years ago.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ronstadt discussed her disease with AARP magazine in an interview. The 11-time Grammy Award winner's memoir, "Simple Dreams," will be published next month.

Diagnosed about eight months ago, Ronstadt said she began experiencing symptoms eight years ago, such as hand tremors and trouble controlling the muscles that allowed her to sing. "No one can sing with Parkinson's disease," Ronstadt said. "No matter how hard you try."

She formerly attributed the ailments to a tick bite until she was finally properly diagnosed by a neurologist.

"I couldn't sing," she told AARP music reporter Alanna Nash, "and I couldn't 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. And it didn't occur to me to go to a neurologist."

She also says that she had undergone a shoulder operation, believed to be the culprit for her trembling hands.

"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," she said. "I wouldn't have suspected that in a million, billion years."

Throughout her career, which began when she was just 14 years old singing with her siblings, Ronstadt accumulated 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, a Tony Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her role in "The Pirates of Penzance." She released her first studio album in 1969 ("Hand Sown . Home Grown") and her most recent in 2006 ("Adieu False Heart").

Ronstadt turned out chart-scaling hits during the 1970s and '80s, including "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "You're No Good" and "Just One Look." Ronstadt now uses poles to assist her when walking on uneven ground and travels with a wheelchair.

The 11-time Grammy winner's last album was released in 2006.

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