Eleven-time Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt had been experiencing trouble controlling her voice, as well as other muscles in her body, for some time. In an interview Friday with AARP, she revealed why: she has Parkinson’s disease.
Although the 67-year-old vocalist had been experiencing symptoms for “seven or eight years,” she had attributed the symptoms to tick bites and did not get a correct diagnosis until around 8 months ago. The disease, she says, has effectively crippled her vocal cords so that she “can’t sing a note.”
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how hard you try,” Ronstadt told AARP.
Ronstadt enjoyed a string of popular hits during the 1970s and 1980s, including “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “Don’t Know Much,” a duet with Aaron Neville. She was well-known for her ability to adapt her voice to a diversity of styles, including pop, jazz, Latin and country. Her last album was Adieu, False Heart, a collaboration with Cajun singer Ann Savoy released in 2006.
Ronstadt plans to release a memoir in September called Simple Dreams. The book does not discuss her disease.