Tucson native and pop music icon Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson’s disease.
In an interview with music writer Alanna Nash that was posted on the AARP blog Friday, Ronstadt said she was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder eight months ago, but has been experiencing symptoms including not being able to sing for as long as eight years. She told Nash she attributed it to a tick bite and chalked up her trembling hands to the residual effects of shoulder surgery.
“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,” Ronstadt, 67, told Nash in an interview Friday, says the report on the AARP blog.
She could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
Rondstadt told Nash she was “completely shocked” when she was told she had Parkinson’s. “I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years,” she said.
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt told Nash. “No matter how hard you try.”
Nash reported that Ronstadt sometimes walks with the aid of poles and uses a wheelchair when traveling.Nash’s wide-ranging interview with Ronstadt will be published on AARP’s website (aarp.org) next week.
Ronstadt will release her new memoir on Sept. 17 but the book makes no mention of the diagnosis, AARP says.
Ronstadt, a Tucson native, enjoyed a musically diverse career that spanned the 1970s through the 1990s. She released more than 30 solo albums, 15 compilations or greatest- hits packages and charted 38 Billboard Hot 100 singles, 21 of them Top 40 hits. In the 1970s she was the highest- paid woman in rock; in 1978 alone, her record sales exceeded $60 million.
She scored No. 1 hits in country and rock and crossed over into the classic pop when she recorded with arranger Nelson Riddle.
In addition , Ronstadt performed light opera, with roles in Puccini’s “La Boheme” and Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”