Linda Ronstadt’s Parkinson’s Illness & Health Update 12/15/2019

Linda Ronstadt Parkinsons

Getty Honoree Linda Ronstadt arrives at the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors Kennedy Center on December 08, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Linda Ronstadt is one of the 2019 recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, airing on Sunday, December 15 at 8/7c on CBS. The honor celebrates Ronstadt’s lifetime achievements in the arts as a singer, but she has actually been retired from singing since 2011 due to her Parkinson’s illness.

Since retiring, Ronstadt has lived a more private life, but her iconic music and beautiful voice that launched her career have maintained her fame in the music industry. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, the symptoms can be managed to an extent with medication. In September 2019, Ronstadt updated People on her illness, saying “I can’t sit up in a theater and it’s hard to go to a movie or an opera. I try to get out, but it’s about once a year.” She added “There’s nothing I can do and I just learned how to live with it.”

In February of this year, Ronstadt spoke on stage at MusiCares Person of the Year, honoring Dolly Parton. In September, a documentary about Ronstadt’s life and career, entitled Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, was released.


Ronstadt’s Documentary, ‘The Sound of My Voice,’ Addresses the Impact That Parkinson’s Had on Her Career


Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice | Official TrailerSUBSCRIBE: bit.ly/GreenwichSub Since bursting onto the music scene in 1967, Linda Ronstadt has been an icon for more than 50 years. Her extraordinary vocal range and ambition created unforgettable songs across rock, pop, country, folk ballads, American standards, classic Mexican music and soul. As the most popular female recording artist of the 1970s – with…2019-07-25T16:24:58.000Z

While The Sound of My Voice places its focus on celebrating Ronstadt’s 50 years of influence in the music industry and the events of her life that helped her rise to fame, it also reflects on her Parkinson’s diagnosis, and the early retirement it forced her to take.

According to NPR, Ronstadt sings briefly in the documentary with her nephew, but refuses to call the limited ability she still has “singing.”

Deadline reported last month that, on New Year’s Day, CNN will host the documentary’s television debut.


Linda Ronstadt Publicized Her Parkinson’s Diagnosis in 2013

In 2013, Ronstadt revealed her Parkinson’s diagnosis during an interview with AARP. During the interview, she revealed that her Parkinson’s illness was the reason she had to stop singing: “So I didn’t know why I couldn’t sing — all I knew was that it was muscular, or mechanical. Then, when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was finally given the reason. I now understand that no one can sing with Parkinson’s disease. No matter how hard you try.”

Although the diagnosis made her inability to sing make sense after it was given to her, Ronstadt said that learning she had Parkinson’s was completely unexpected. She said “I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that must be why my hands were shaking. Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose. So when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, ‘Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,’ I was completely shocked. I was totally surprised. I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.”


Linda Ronstadt speaksIn a revealing interview, the legendary singer-songwriter Linda Ronstadt opens up to Tracy Smith about her career, the loss of her singing voice, and living with Parkinson's. She also talks about the release of her first-ever live album, "Linda Ronstadt Live in Hollywood," which presents previously-unreleased recordings from her celebrated 1980 HBO special, recorded at…2019-02-03T15:41:19.000Z

In February 2019, Linda sat down with CBS Sunday Morning to talk about how she’s doing today, and how her life has changed since she stopped being able to sing. In the interview, she said that, while it’s not the same as the physical act of singing (which she compared to skiing down a mountain), she is still able to sing in her brain and does so all the time.

READ NEXT: Linda Ronstadt Honored at 2019 Kennedy Center Honors

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