Rare Disease Report

Neil Diamond Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease

JANUARY 23, 2018
Mathew Shanley
On his personal website Monday, legendary musician Neil Diamond revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The Sweet Caroline singer will be retiring from traveling immediately, withdrawing from the third leg of his 50th Anniversary tour. He plans to continue writing, recording and participating in other projects, however.

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

Diamond, who has had 38 songs rank in the Top 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

“I am devastated and saddened to hear the news of Neil’s illness and his retirement from touring,” commented Paul Dainty, President and CEO of the live entertainment company TEG Dainty. “I have had the honour of promoting Neil’s numerous tours in Australia and New Zealand, he is one of the world’s greatest artists and we and his thousands and thousands of fans here will miss seeing him tour down under.”

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an insufficient number of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. The condition itself is not rare, however, the dyskinesia that develops in patients receiving levodopa, the current standard-of-care, qualifies as a rare disease in the United States, as it affects less than 200,000 people.

Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his first song-writing job as an 18-year old. His first real success came as the writer of hit songs performed by the Monkees, including I’m a Believer. After seeing Caroline Kennedy on the cover of Life magazine in 1969, he wrote Sweet Caroline. The song has become a fixture at a number of sporting events, including use after every home win by Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.

Diamond turns 77 this week, and his concert dates in Australia and New Zealand that were set for March and April have been canceled. As part of the tour, he had already performed in New York, London, and Germany.

Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Grammys.


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