Linda Ronstadt has revealed that she is suffering from Parkinson's disease and first felt the effects of the illness eight years ago. Ronstadt, who's now 67, will release her autobiography, called, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, on September 17th, but doesn't address her battles with Parkinson's in the book. She came out with her diagnosis to AARP magazine, and spoke about how she first knew she was ill, recalling, "I couldn't sing and I couldn't figure out why. I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had. And it didn't occur to me to go to a neurologist. . . Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that's why my hands were trembling."
Ronstadt, who now relies on poles to help her walk on uneven ground and travels with a wheelchair explained: "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 wouldn't have suspected that in a million, billion years. . . No one can sing with Parkinson's disease, No matter how hard you try."
She has announced six personal appearances in support of her memoir, which will be available as a hardback, an e-book, and a six-CD unabridged audio read by the singer herself. As expected, Ronstadt will not be singing at any of the book appearances.
When we last caught up with Linda Ronstadt, she admitted to us that life on the road was always the least enjoyable part of her career: "My idea of a great week is when I don't set foot off my property. I really like to be at home, I've always been a homebody. I've never liked traveling; I've never liked performing. And it was just something that I had to do in order to get to the music. I always loved the music and I always wanted the music to get better and better, and I was thrilled to have success because it meant that I was able to get better musicians to work with. And that's the beginning and end of it. But I've never been comfortable on the stage and its not anything that I want to do."
Linda Ronstadt book appearances (subject to change):
September 18 - New York, NY - 92nd Street Y
September 19 - Brookline, MA - Coolidge Center
September 21, 22 - Washington DC - National Mall - Library of Congress National Book Festival
September 26 - San Francisco, CA - Nourse Theatre
October 7 - Beaverton, OR - Powell's Books