Billy Connolly Has Parkinson's, Received Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Image: Billy Connolly Has Parkinson's, Received Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 03:02 PM

By David Ogul

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Scottish actor and comedian Billy Connolly has undergone surgery for prostate cancer and is now starting treatment for early stages of Parkinson’s disease, The Telegraph reported.

A spokeswoman for the entertainer, who launched his career as a folk singer and is known by fans as “The Big Yin,” downplayed the illnesses. She said the prostate cancer was caught in the early stages and referred to the surgery as minor.

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“The operation was a total success and Billy is fully recovered,” she told The Telegraph. “In addition, Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, for which he is receiving the appropriate treatment. Billy has been assured by experts that the findings will in no way inhibit or affect his ability to work, and he will start filming a TV series in the near future, as well as undertaking an extensive theatrical tour of New Zealand in the new year.”

The Daily Mail reported that Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s during prostate surgery.

Parkinson’s affects 127,000 Britons, with symptoms including tremors, rigidity of muscles, slowness of movement, unsteady balance, and memory loss.

Connolly’s film roles include a dwarf in the Hobbit series, “Indecent Proposal,” the 2010 remake of “Gulliver’s Travels,” “The X Files: I Want to Believe,” and “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

Earlier this year, Connolly admitted he forgot his lines sometimes during performances, saying it was “terrifying” and made him “feel like [he was] going out of his mind.”

Dr. Kieran Breen, the director of research at Parkinson’s UK, told The Telegraph that Parkinson’s can take three to four years off a person’s life.

Connolly is not the first entertainer to live with Parkinson’s disease. Actors Michael J. Fox and Bob Hoskins (the detective in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”), along with singer Linda Ronstadt, are among those who suffer from the disease.

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Related stories:

Linda Ronstadt 'Simple Dreams' Done Before Parkinson's Diagnosis

Michael J. Fox Coming Back to Comedy TV, Show Based on Life With Parkinson’s

Five Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

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