Linda Ronstadt Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt, 67, has revealed that she “can’t sing a note” due to suffering from Parkinson’s disease, according to AARP. The singer was diagnosed eight months ago, though she says she began showing symptoms approximately eight years ago.

Ronstadt has won two Academy of Country Music awards, including 1974’s Best New Female Artist and 1987’s Best Album honors, for her work with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the album Trio. She earned a Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” from Heart Like a Wheel, in 1975. Another Grammy nod followed in 1987, this time for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the album Trio (with Parton and Harris). Her album Simple Dreams topped the Billboard Country charts in 1977.

trio album1“I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t figure out why,” says Ronstadt. “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. 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.

“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt says. “No matter how hard you try.” According to the singer, she uses a wheelchair when she travels.

Her memoir, Simple Dreams, will appear on Sept. 17, though the book does not reveal details of her diagnosis, or the loss of her voice.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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