Sir Billy Connolly reflects on Parkinson's battle: 'It will end me'
Sir Billy Connolly has opened up on his Parkinson’s battle, sharing an update for fans while also thanking them as he reflected on his career.
The Scottish comedian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 and stepped back from touring in 2018.
He then announced in March this year he was quitting performance for good as his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease – which affects the brain and becomes progressively worse over time – means his brain now ‘works differently’.
Now, in a new documentary, Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure, the 78-year-old has spoken about the degenerative disease, saying it as ‘got’ him and that it will eventually ‘end him’.
As per The Mirror, he says in the ITV documentary, set to air later this month: ‘It was obvious from my movement, that I wasn’t who I used to be. And so I had to explain it.. just to say that I am not defined by it.
‘It’s got me and it will get me and it will end me but that’s OK with me.
‘I started low and I ended high. Just staying up there, until it is time to stop, seems a natural and good thing to do. It is a good thing to be proud of, I wanted to be a funnyman and I got it.’
Looking down the camera, he adds: ‘It’s been a pleasure talking to you all those years. From the beginning when I was a folkie, right through, I couldn’t have done anything without you. You have been magnificent.’
Sir Billy was forced to stop touring due to ill health, saying after he was diagnosed: ‘I’ve got Parkinson’s disease. I wish he’d f***ing kept it.’
Speaking at the announcement of his retirement, he told Sky News: ‘I’m finished with stand-up – it was lovely and it was lovely being good at it. It was the first thing I was ever good at.’
‘I get upset because certain things go wrong with you, your brain goes adrift, and it affects your body,’ he added. ‘So you walk differently, you walk like a drunk man sometimes, and you’re frightened you’ll be judged on it.’
Last year he had fans ‘in bits’ as he claimed to feel as though he was ‘slipping away’ to the condition.
He said in the documentary Made In Scotland.: ‘My life, it’s slipping away and I can feel it and I should…I’m near the end. I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me, it’s an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.’
The Big Yin spoke about how difficult he had found coming to terms with having the disease.
He said: ‘Parkinson’s is strange because it’s not gonna go away.
‘All my life I’ve got sick, I’ve had flu and various things and they all went away. This isn’t going anywhere. This is gonna get worse.’
The comedian added: ‘It takes a certain calm to deal with. I sometimes don’t have it. I sometimes get angry with it, but that doesn’t last long.
‘The love you have for people is still there and with a bit of luck the love they have for you is still there.’
He went on to backtrack after ‘depressing’ his fans about his condition.
His wife Pamela Stephenson shared a video of her hubby singing a song about his recent confession where he reassures fans that he is ‘not dying.’
While strumming on the guitar, he can be heard singing: ‘Not dying, not dead, not slipping away.
‘Sorry if I depressed you. Maybe I should have phrased it better.’
Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure airs December 28 at 9.30pm on ITV.
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