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Linda Ronstadt Details Battle with Parkinson’s Disease: ‘No One Can Sing With Parkinson’s Disease’

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Linda Ronstadt has amassed 11 GRAMMYs and collaborated with everyone from Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash to Neil Young and Gram Parsons. One of the leading women during California’s emerging folk and country rock movements in California during the 60s, today she can no longer sing after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

In an interview with AARP, Ronstadt opened up about her battle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was diagnosed eight months ago but she admits she began to show symptoms eight years ago. At that time, she just thought her inability to sing was due to a tick bite. “My health has never recovered since then,” she told AARP.

“I couldn’t sing 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. I think I’ve had it for seven or eight years already, because of the symptoms that I’ve had. Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that’s why my hands were trembling,” she said.

She added: “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.”

Ronstadt’s career in music spans more than four decades and includes her memorable No. 1 hit “You’re No Good.” Today she is forced to walk with the aid of poles and uses a wheelchair.

“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” said Ronstadt. “No matter how hard you try.”

On Sept. 17, she will release a memoir titled Simple Dreams.

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