Music legend Tony Christie has revealed that he has been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 79.
The singer shared the sad news on today's (January 12) episode of Steph's Packed Lunch, telling presenter Steph McGovern that he received the devastating diagnosis last year.
The Amarillo singer said that he's not going to let the diagnosis get in the way of living his life to the fullest.
"I’m looking forward to working. I love working," he explained as the star went on: "My grandad used to say, ‘You retire, you die’ and I just said I’m not going to die. I’m going to carry on and carry on… I feel good. I can carry on forever, that’s how I feel."
Tony opened up about a conversation with his wife that led to him seeking out help from a specialist. He shared: "I said to my wife, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m starting to forget people’s names and things.
"She said, ‘Let’s go and see a specialist.’ I had all the tests and they said it’s an early start of dementia. They started me on these tablets which slowed it right down and it’s really slowed it down."
Pointing to his wife, Sue, in the audience Tony then joked: "I can't remember her name now."
Discussing how he's continued performing in spite of the diagnosis, Tony told Steph: "I have to have a TV screen on stage with me with the lyrics. I don’t very often use it, it’s there just to make me feel safe."
Tony previously expressed concern over his memory, telling the Mirror in 2019, that he was worried about his family's history of dementia.
He told the publication: "I’ve noticed for a few years now that my memory has been getting worse, which is a serious concern especially as there’s history of dementia in my family.
"It’s got to the point where I have to have the lyrics to all the songs I perform live written on autocue, and most of them I’ve been singing for half a century.
"I also need to look at the screen to check the names of my bandmates before I introduce them – even though some have played with me for over a decade."
"I had a particularly embarrassing moment recently when I walked on stage in Leipzig and told the audience, ‘It’s great to be back in Hamburg’. I tried to laugh it off, but it’s actually no laughing matter for me," the singer continued.
“I’ve not yet gone to be tested as, to be honest, I’d rather not know if I have got dementia."
Tony has enjoyed a decades-long career after releasing his first album in 1971 and is still touring, having recently collaborated with folk band Ranagri.
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