Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Billy Connolly fan spotted Parkinson's disease

  • Print

Billy Connolly realised he was suffering from Parkinson's disease after a fan noticed a problem with the way he walked.

The 71-year-old star was spotted by an Australian doctor, who was on tour with a group of dancers in America, and he insisted the comedian showed a "strange gait" which led to Billy being diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder.

Billy told a US radio station: "It was the strangest thing of all.

"I was walking through the lobby and every time I had gone through there was a crowd of boys and girls and a couple of adults.

"It turned out they were dancers from Australia.

"The guy who was in charge of them came over to me one day and said 'Billy, I'm a big fan, I'm from Tasmania'.

"He said, 'I'm a surgeon and I have been watching you walking, you have a strange gait'. That was the way he put it.

"He said 'You're showing distinct signs of early onset Parkinson's disease, see your doctor'.

"I think it was the way I held myself when I was walking.

"Then they did blood tests and various other little bits and pieces and told me I had it."

Billy - who is wed to psychologist Pamela Stephenson and has five children from his two marriages - also revealed he came off his medication because the side-effects were stronger than the effects of the illness, which can include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking.

He added: "I don't see much shaking going on and I have always had a s**t memory anyway.

"I have forgotten things my entire career. I was taking drugs to control the Parkinson's but I'm not on them anymore.

"The doctor said the side effects were stronger than the effects. I never noticed any side effects but he told me they could include a deep interest in sex and gambling.

"In terms of treatment I think some of the stem cell stuff is very promising but they have a lot of problems legally getting it through."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief justices breakdown cameras in courtroom project

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google