6 Celebrities Who Lived With Parkinson’s Disease


There are many celebrities battling Parkinson’s disease. Living with the disease is difficult enough without worrying about your health deteriorating in the public eye.

Let’s take a look at how these public figures have managed their disease in the spotlight.

Muhammad Ali
Ali was initially diagnosed in 1984, just three short years after he retired from boxing. He developed a tremor and speaking became increasingly difficult but the boxer battled his disease with grace and dignity. He did not indulge in self-pity but displayed courage and strength, continuing to live his life to the full and not to let the disease rule his life.

MORE: Eleven facts about Parkinson’s you may not know. 

Michael J. Fox 
A shining example of a man who has never given up, Fox continued to work and started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to help with finding a cure. He went public with his diagnosis to help raise awareness as well as financial donations. Even though his doctor told him when he was diagnosed that he only had 10 years left to work, he’s gone way beyond that and has been working for more than 25 years. It’s unusual to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s so young, but he has continued to live life to the fullest.

Billy Graham
Known as America’s Pastor, Graham’s been a spiritual advisor for many U.S. presidents. Through he’s had Parkinson’s for almost 25 years, it wasn’t public until his son Franklin revealed his condition to the world on his 97th birthday. Graham celebrated his 98th birthday in November 2016.

MORE: Seven things to know about deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease.

Linda Ronstadt
Ronstadt was a rock superstar in the 1970s, but Parkinson’s stole her ability to sing due to the loss of muscle control. At 71 she uses a wheelchair when traveling and poles when walking. She goes on speaking tours and is writing a book.

Ben Petrick
Petrick was just a 22-year-old MLB pitcher when he was first diagnosed during his rookie year in 1999. He was forced to retire at the end of the 2004 season due to Parkinson’s and not being unable to keep up with the rigors of Major League Baseball. He is the father of two young daughters.

Charles Schultz 
The creator of the beloved comic strip Peanuts was in his 50s when he was diagnosed with PD. Sadly he had to retire at the age of 77 and passed away in 2000. For over 50 years, he created comic strips with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and Linus. He will forever be remembered for his contributions to the industry.

MORE: What is Parkinsonism?

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Ann says:

    There is no such thing as “Living Well” with Parkinsons.
    I would like to know when in the HELL is a CURE going to be found or published if a CURE does already exist. This wouldn’t surprise me – BIG PHARMA and the FDA, being financed by BIG PHARMA are making a LOT of money pushing Levadopa and all their other poisons!

    • Fay says:

      Ann, I was recently diagnosed and asked my Neurologist “why hasn’t a cure been found”. Of course, he had no answer. I live on S.S. and worry about the cost of medications. I’m 82 so I guess I wont have many years to worry about it. Good luck to you.

  2. stanley mathew says:

    i am a parkinson suffer and diagnosed at the age of 42.now i am approaching 52.if i looking ahead dark future.i belive god will give strength.

    • Bonnie V says:

      Just wanted to give you an encouragement God has been good I’ve had Parkinson’s for 12 years now and he’s never giving me a day that I haven’t been grateful for my favorite scripture is Be still and know that I am God. my grandchildren call me, Granny B I can’t “be still” because I have Parkinson’s and I know He’s the one and only living God so hang in there God is good! I was diagnosed at age 46 and I just turned 58

  3. Fran caviani says:

    No comment. I have no power or influence. If drug companies would get going a little more , maybe they woild find a way to ease Parkinson’s or st least slow it down. I am thoroughly disgusted with the whole mess.

  4. Diane weaver says:

    Sending you all love and blessings. I’ve had Parkinson’s disease undiagnosed since mid 30s. Diagnosed around 40. Now it’s 8 years later and I’m still going but it’s not easy. Some days are better than others. I exercise and try to keep my mind active, which is hard but has to be done. I take much longer to work out problems that used to be simple. I have outburst of emotions and anger sometimes. I don’t usually freeze up as long as I take my carbidopa levadopa every 6 hours. I stopped smoking twice and got much worst, so I started back and symptoms improved. I was told it has to do with smoking raises dopamine. It’s a horrible habit and addiction though so I’m not suggesting anyone else start smoking. I started long before I had parkingsons. Exercise is a must for me. Getting lots of sunshine is a must even though I have anxiety going outside some days. Learning to control my emotions is the hardest battle I’m dealing with currently and I don’t understand why. I worry cause I know it’s affected my memory/mind. Keeping you all in my heart ❤️and fingers crossed for a cure or better meds. ❤️

  5. Ti says:

    I was just diagnosed a few months ago with parkinsons even though I’ was diagnosed with cogwheel tremor 19 years ago. resting tremor started in same left hand 6 months ago along with hallucinations, emotional junk, horrible sledgehammer top of the headache, stiff muscles and walking. i just discovered this morning, as a lifelong singer, I can’t sing! No pitch, tone or volume control! I have no trouble speaking but I did notice after I wss diagnosed with the cogwheel that I had no breath for singing. That wad depressing then but this is almost devastating. I say that because I’m an eternal optimist. I’ve always been religious and my faith in God has gotten me through some horrible things over the years. Since my Bible day text yesterday was about how to strengthen the voice muscles to sing better and when I tried it today and found out my voice is almost gone, I have full faith He’s looking out for me. I know I’ll be able to deal with whatever comes my way even though it’s going to be a battle. I hope everyone dealing with this terrible disease finds the necessary strength as well. In that way you can be a good source of encouragement to others when they see what you’re going through but you are remaining positive

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