The 76-year-old musician suffers from a Parkinson’s-like disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy.
Touted as the First Lady of Rock Linda Ronstadt is renowned for her mezzo soprano voice which can be heard in some of her classic hits including ‘70s classics “You’re No Good” and “Blue Bayou.” Ronstadt has conquered every musical genre from arena rock to Broadway but the 76-year-old cannot sing the way her fans remember her for. The 11-time Grammy winner opened up about how her disease has affected her singing, telling TODAY, “I can sing in my brain. Sometimes, I choose the song, and sometimes my brain chooses the song," Ronstadt said. "My brain chooses the worst music," she continued.
Linda Ronstadt, who left an indelible mark on the classic-rock era, reflects on her career: “It was best when I forgot about everything and just thought about the music,” she said. https://t.co/9tSeN7bPcT— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 15, 2022
Almost a decade ago, Linda Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but now she's learned that she has a Parkinson’s-like disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy. PSP is a rare neurological condition that can affect balance, movement, vision, speech, and swallowing, according to the NHS. The uncommon condition mimics many of the same symptoms of Parkinson’s and dementia.
Johnny Cash & Linda Ronstadt - "Will Never Marry" pic.twitter.com/87IA4FtIVv— Iris (@IrisEwa) November 2, 2022
Ronstadt opened up about how the disease affects her life. She told Parade, "Well, I don’t have a choice. If I had a choice, then I might be p*ssed off. I try not to live in the future. I live in the present. I mean, we’re all going to die of something, we just don’t know what it is. Even I don’t know what it is. Yes, I have a progressive disease, but I might get hit by a bus next week. I’ve been lucky. I have had a lot of really good help. My daughter is very helpful, so I’m well taken care of."
Linda Ronstadt doesn’t sing at all anymore — at least not in a way that her fans are able to hear.— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 2, 2022
“I can sing in my brain,” the 76-year-old explained when she recently sat down with TODAY’s Maria Shriver. https://t.co/WOL0KP3zXQ
Family plays a huge part in her life, and the musician is incredibly proud of her roots and honored where she comes from in her 1987 collection of traditional Mexican songs titled Canciones de Mi Padre. It became the biggest-selling non-English-language album in U.S. history. The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2021. She recalled to TODAY how a record executive told her not to go ahead with it. “He said, ‘Please don’t do this. It’ll destroy your career, what’s left of your career,’” she recalled. “And I, I just couldn’t hear him. ... It made me feel like we were being marginalized, and that Mexicans are invisible in this culture. They’re invisible. They’re expected to be in the kitchen, washing dishes or cooking for you or cleaning your house. But they don’t seem to have another context.” Ronstadt is one of the most versatile musicians of all time and fans not only love her for her music but her fiery spirit. She truly is an icon!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Vince Bucci