Billy Connolly ‘doesn’t recognise close friends any more’ as he continues to battle Parkinson’s Disease

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SIR Billy Connolly ‘no longer recognises close friends’ as he continues to battle Parkinson’s Disease.

The Scottish comic went public with his diagnosis five years ago, but now one of his oldest friends, Sir Michael Parkinson, has admitted it’s starting to take its toll.

Sir Billy Connolly ‘no longer recognises close friends’ as he continues to battle Parkinson’s Disease
PA:Press Association

Speaking on Saturday with James Martin, the legendary chat show host recalled a recent meeting with the 75-year-old, and how the had an “awkward dinner”.

He said: “The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled.

“I saw him recently – he’s now living in America – and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an award ceremony.

“We had an awkward dinner together, because I wasn’t quite sure if he knew who I was or not.

His friend Sir Michael Parkinson made the revelation during an appearance on Saturday with James Martin
PA:Press Association
The men have been close friends for years, with Billy appearing on Michael’s chat show many times
Handout
Michael recently met up with Billy in New York for an ‘awkward dinner’ as his friend asked how long they had known each other
Getty – Contributor
The Scottish comic was knighted last year for his services to entertainment and his charity work
Reuters

“But we were walking out after the presentation to go down and have our picture taken, and he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulders.”

Billy was diagnosed with the long term degenerative disorder after having surgery for prostate cancer, and went public with the news in 2013.

The disease affects the brain and signs include involuntary shaking, stiff muscles and slow movement as well as memory problems and balance issues.

Sir Michael, 83, grew close to Billy after multiple appearances on his chat show.

Billy – seen here with wife Pamela Stephenson – went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis five years ago
AFP

He added: “To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy… it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense.

“He was just a genius and the best thing that happened to me on the show.”

Last year, as he was knighted for his services to entertainment as well as his charity work, which in recent years has involved raising awareness for Parkinson’s Disease.


At the time he said: “When I’m in front of people and performing, I don’t give it much attention.

“And I perform in spite of it. That’s why I put on the song A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On – just to stick two fingers up to it.

“There’s a whole lot of shaking going on. It’s kind of weird, this instability.

Billy, 75, has spoken many times about his condition in a bid to raise awareness
John Gunion – The Sun Glasgow

“The only time it stops is when I’m in bed and then I can’t roll over. I’m like a big log.

“It’s the first thing I think about in the morning because getting out of bed is quite hard.”


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