Beloved comedian Billy Connolly reveals he is being ‘encroached upon’ by ‘cruel’ Parkinson’s disease

Oct 01, 2023
While Connolly still retains a positive outlook, he admitted that he is "being encroached upon by the disease". Source: Getty Images.

Legendary comedian Billy Connolly has opened up about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, offering fans a candid glimpse into his life as he confronts this “cruel” adversary head-on.

In 2013, Connolly publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Since then, The Big Yin has remained candid about his struggles with the disease that affects movement control.

In his latest update, the comedian revealed that he has noticed “a deterioration” in his balance which has resulted in “a couple of serious falls”.

“It’s very difficult to see the progression exactly, because a lot of things come and go,” he told The Guardian

“Recently I’ve noticed a deterioration in my balance. That was never such a problem before, but in the last year that has come and it has stayed.

“For some reason, I thought it would go away, because a lot of symptoms have come and gone away … just to defy the symptom spotters. The shaking has reappeared.”

Connolly’s wife, Pamela Stephenson, revealed that “the balance issue has been most significant” which resulted in “a couple of serious falls”.

Known for his knack for finding humour in any situation, Connolly remarked that his recent tumble brought to mind a joke he used to deliver during his stand-up routines.

“It’s funny, that fall I had when I landed on my jaw reminded me of a thing I used to do on stage,” he began.

“I used to say: ‘I fell out of bed, but luckily my face broke my fall’.”

While Connolly still retains a positive outlook, he admitted that he is “being encroached upon by the disease”.

“It’s just added to the list of things that hold me back. I feel like I want to go for a walk, but I go for 50 yards and I want to go home, because I’m tired,” he said.

“I’m being encroached upon by this disease. It’s creeping up behind me and stopping me doing things. It’s a cruel disease.”

Despite the challenges of Parkinson’s, Connolly is doing his best to not let the disease slow him down.

Late last year, Connolly delighted fans when he made a surprise appearance at his local Glasgow cafe in celebration of his 80th birthday.

Like many of Connolly’s recent outings, the cafe owners took to social media to celebrate the comedian’s arrival.

“A special day for a special man THE BIG YIN!” the cafe owners wrote at the time.

“Thank you for choosing to come back to Jessie biscuit to celebrate your 80th birthday.

“From everyone at Jessie Biscuit a huge HAPPY 8️⃣0️⃣ BIRTHDAY SIR BILLY CONNOLLY.”


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