Glen Campbell has Alzheimer's disease
Glen Campbell has Alzheimer's disease, and went public Wednesday with his diagnosis in anticipation of questions that might be raised around a number of farewell performances planned for this fall.
"I still love making music," the 75-year-old "Rhinestone Cowboy" singer told People. "And I still love performing for my fans. I'd like to thank them for sticking with me through thick and thin."
Things got a bit thin earlier this month when, after commenting on Campbell's struggles with lyrics, notes and poor rapport with the audience, one reviewer decribed a June 4 performance in Indiana as a "train wreck better suited for a county-fair beer tent."
"Facing a sold-out audience nestled in a world-class room, Campbell came across as unprepared at best and disoriented at worst," David Lindquist wrote on IndyStar.com.
Kim Campbell told People that her husband, who was diagnosed six months ago, is "still an awesome guitar player and singer."
"But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage," she said, "I wouldn’t want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?' "
The farewell tour will support Campbell's album "Ghost on the Canvas," Pop & Hiss reports. Due out Aug. 30, the new record features guests including Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer and Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen.
The voice of "Southern Nights" (take a listen below) and "Gentle on My Mind" is a five-time Grammy Award winner and has released nearly 60 albums since 1962.
Alzheimer's, which has no cure, strikes one in 8 people age 55 and older, according to a National Institutes of Health task force.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Glen Campbell at home in Malibu in August 2008. Credit: Phil McCarten / Reuters