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Linda Ronstadt Forced to End Career Due to Parkinson’s Disease

Linda Ronstadt
Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

The career of Linda Ronstadt has come to an unfortunate end due to Parkinson’s disease. The singer was diagnosed with the neurological condition this past winter.

Ronstadt publicly disclosed the news in an interview with AARP, which will be published on their website next week, but excerpted yesterday (Aug. 23). She knew something was wrong when she had trouble using her famous voice.

“I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t figure out why,” she told them. “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. I think I’ve had it for seven or eight years already, because of the symptoms that I’ve had. Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that’s why my hands were trembling.”

The degenerative condition has weakened Ronstadt to the point where she needs poles when walking on uneven ground, and requires a wheelchair when she travels. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but symptoms can be managed through medication.

In a recording career lasting 35 years, Ronstadt had 20 Top 40 hits and earned 14 platinum albums and 11 Grammys. In addition to rock, she recorded standards, country and traditional Mexican music, and also starred on Broadway in Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera ‘The Pirates of Penzance.’ Her last album was 2006’s ‘Adieu False Heart,’ a collaboration with Cajun singer Ann Savoy.

Next: Top 10 Linda Ronstadt Songs

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