6 Celebrities Who Lived With Parkinson’s Disease

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by Marta Ribeiro |

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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 Hollywood.

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. He continued to live his life and never quit or gave up.

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. 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.

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 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’s the father of two young daughters and the author of the inspirational book, Forty Thousand to One.

Charles Schulz 
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, Lucy, and Linus. Though Schulz suffered from Parkinson’s for many years, it was colon cancer that caused his death in 2000. He will forever be remembered for his contributions to the industry.

MORE: What is Parkinsonism?

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