Linda Ronstadt: Parkinson's Took My Singing Voice

Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
 Getty Images

Grammy Award-winning artist Linda Ronstadt has revealed that a recent Parkinson's diagnosis has rendered her unable to sing.

In an interview with the AARP, the 67-year-old says that she was officially diagnosed with the degenerative disorder eight months ago after displaying symptoms as far back as eight years ago.

"I couldn't sing," she told AARP music reporter Alanna Nash, "and I couldn't figure out why. I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had. And it didn't occur to me to go to a neurologist."

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Ronstadt says that she had undergone a shoulder operation, and she believed that to be the culprit for her trembling hands.

"Parkinson's is very hard to diagnose, so when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, 'Oh, you have Parkinson's disease,' I was completely shocked," she said. "I wouldn't have suspected that in a million, billion years."

Now, Ronstadt says she "can't sing a note." Throughout her career, which began when she was just 14 years old singing with her siblings, Ronstadt accumulated 11 Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, a Tony Award and a Golden Globe nom for her role in The Pirates of Penzance. She released her first studio album in 1969 (Hand Sown … Home Grown) and her most recent in 2006 (Adieu False Heart).

Ronstadt recently penned a memoir, Simple Dreams, out Sept. 17, though the book does not address her diagnosis or the loss of her voice.

"No one can sing with Parkinson's disease," she tells AARP. "No matter how hard you try."

The publication's full interview with Ronstadt is slated to run on AARP.org next week.

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