Neil Diamond Has Parkinson’s, Ends 50 Years of Live Performing

The Washington Post
Saturday, January 27, 2018

Neil Diamond, one of America’s most enduring songwriters best known for his singalong hits Sweet Caroline and Cracklin’ Rosie, announced last week that he has Parkinson’s disease.

Diamond, who turned 77 on Wednesday, said he is retiring from concert touring as a result of the diagnosis.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years,” Diamond said in a statement on his website. “My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that can cause tremors in the hands and arms, rigid muscles and speech changes such as slurring, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Diamond made the announcement while in the midst of his “50 Year Anniversary World Tour.”

In March, Diamond was set to visit New Zealand and Australia on the third leg of the tour.

The tickets will be refunded in full, according to the singer’s website.

Diamond — who has been nominated for 13 Grammy awards and won one — will be given the coveted Lifetime Achievement Awards at tonight’s Grammy Awards.

He is one of the world’s most popular recording artists, having sold more than 130 million records.

At least 53 of his songs have landed on the Billboard Top 100 chart and 55 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I’m motivated to find myself. I’m an imperfect emotional being, trying to figure out some way to give some kind of substance and meaning to my life,” he told Rolling Stone in 1976. “I do it in a very silly way. I write these little songs and go and sing them in a recording studio and, later, in front of a lot of people. It seems like an odd way to gain an inner sense of acceptance of the self. But it’s what I do. It seems like a lot of people are getting good things from it. It’s really the only justification I’ve found yet for my life.”

Even with Parkinson’s disease, Diamond said he will continue writing and recording music.

“My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement,” Diamond said in the statement. “This ride has been so good, so good, so good thanks to you.”