15 Famous People Whose Lives Are Touched by Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a heartbreaking condition that can affect anyone, even if they are rich and famous, extremely active, and intelligent. But though this disease does not discriminate between race, gender, and sometimes age, celebrities and patient advocates do what they can to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease, and support each other when they need to.
These 15 celebrities have either been diagnosed with this awful disease, or have had family members who are affected by it.
Celebrities who you may (or may not) know are affected by Parkinson's disease
1. Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt, the Grammy award-winning singer, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012. She had been showing symptoms for eight years before a final diagnosis was determined. She continued her career until Parkinson’s altered her voice and caused her vocal cords to stop working.
2. Michael Clifford
Former United States Army officer and NASA astronaut, Michael Clifford spent 665 hours circling the globe during three space missions, and one of them was while he was dealing with Parkinson’s’.
Clifford kept his sickness a secret for years but decided to share his story when he appreciated that Parkinson’s’ had never prevented him from fulfilling his dreams. He collaborated on The Astronaut’s Secret, a documentary about his career and battle with Parkinson’s.
3. Kirk Gibson
The former Tigers player, Kirk Gibson, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015. He released his diagnosis through Fox Sports Detroit, where he was employed as an analyst. Since then, Gibson has been doing what he can to raise awareness for the disease, and the Tigers even have donated some of their ticket proceeds to Parkinson's research.
4. Jesse Jackson
Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's in late 2017. Jesse Jackson worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was a former congressman. He also spoke out in 2014 after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Photo: Linda Ronstadt and David Hidalgo by JD Lasica.