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Linda Ronstadt Reveals She Has Parkinson’s Disease

Linda Rondstadt
Vince Bucci, Getty Images

Grammy Award winner Linda Ronstadt, best known for her pop and rock hits in the ’70s and ’80s, also turned out several hit country singles and one unforgettable country album before announcing the end of her career this week. The 67-year-old has Parkinson’s disease.

Ronstadt was diagnosed last winter, but says she has shown symptoms for seven or eight years. She didn’t go to see a neurologist until she couldn’t sing any longer. “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,” she tells AARP in an interview that will be published in its entirety this week. “And it didn’t occur to me to go to a neurologist.”

The excerpt, released on Friday, was the first fans knew of troubles for the singer, who now needs to use poles while walking and requires a wheelchair when she travels. There is no cure for the disease, but it can be managed with medication.

Ronstadt’s country success began in the early ’70s. ‘Don’t Cry Now’ produced one charting hit in ‘Silver Threads and Golden Needles’ (1974), but it was was the ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ album that made her a country star for a few years. ‘When Will I Be Loved,’ an Everly Brothers cover, reached No. 1 and was followed in the next few years by songs like ‘Love Is a Rose,’ ‘Blue Bayou’ and ‘I Will Never Marry.’ All were Top 10 country singles, in addition to big hits on the mainstream Billboard charts.

In 1987, Ronstadt again found country fame alongside Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Their ‘Trio’ album debuted at No. 1 on the country album charts. The song ‘Wildflowers’ was a Top 10 single, and the album won the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal at the 1988 Grammy Awards. The trio also released ‘Trio II’ in 1999.

‘You’re No Good’ and ‘Hurt So Bad’ are two of Ronstadt’s other hits. She never married, but she does have two adopted children in Mary and Carlos.

Next: See the Top 10 Linda Ronstadt Songs

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