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Tucson native Linda Ronstadt opens up about Parkinson's in CBS interview

Tucson native Linda Ronstadt opens up about Parkinson's in CBS interview

Ronstadt interview

Tucson native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Linda Ronstadt opens up about living with Parkinson's disease with "CBS Sunday Morning."

Linda Ronstadt says she's not afraid of dying, but she is afraid of suffering from the effects of Parkinson's disease.

She made the comments in an interview with "CBS Sunday Morning," set to air at 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 3. 

Ronstadt also said she is hopeful they will find a cure for Parkinson's, which she was diagnosed with in early 2013. She went public with the diagnosis in August of that year and said at the time she had been experiencing symptoms for years before that included not being able to sing.

Tucson native Ronstadt, 72, performed her last hometown concert in 2007 at the AVA at Casino del Sol. She has returned twice since for speaking events at Fox Tucson Theatre.

Ronstadt told "CBS Sunday Morning" host Tracy Smith that she realized something was wrong with her voice as early as 2000. And while she can no longer sing — “I can’t even sing in the shower," she told Smith — she isn't angry.

“When you’ve been able to do certain things all your life, like put your shoes on and brush your teeth or whatever, you – when you can’t do that, you sort of go, ‘What’s this?’” says Ronstadt, who sold more than 100 million records in her nearly five-decade career that landed her in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. “You know, what’s happening here? Come help me with this. And then you have to learn to ask people to help, and that – that took a little doing. But I do that now, because I need the help.”

In the interview, which covered her career and touched on her recent theater "conversation" events around the country including at Fox Tucson Theatre in 2014 and last year, Ronstadt expressed confidence that researchers will one day find a cure for Parkinson’s. 

“I’m sure they’ll find something eventually,” she tells Smith. “They’re learning so much more about it every day. If not, I mean, I’m 72. We’re all going to die. So, they say people usually die with Parkinson’s. They don’t always die of it because it’s so slow-moving. So, I figure I’ll die of something. And I’ve watched people die, so I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying.”

"CBS Sunday Morning" airs from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Videos: A look back at Linda Ronstadt's career

Linda Ronstadt began singing as a child. She performed her first hits with the Stone Ponies. She sang in Spanish. She sang with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. She performed opera. She recorded lullabies made from rock and roll songs. Parkinson's disease has ended Ronstadt's singing career, but her impressive body of work has earned the Tucson native a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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