Belfast Telegraph

Connolly doctor fan spotted illness

Billy Connolly has revealed his Parkinson's disease was first diagnosed by a fan who saw him walking strangely through a hotel.

The comedian announced in September that he had had successful surgery for prostate cancer and was being treated for early symptoms of Parkinson's, which he said was spotted by a fan who is a doctor while he was in the US.

According to the Daily Mirror he told a US radio station: "It was the strangest thing of all. I was walking through the lobby and every time I had gone through there was a crowd of boys and girls and a couple of adults. It turned out they were dancers from Australia.

"The guy who was in charge of them came over to me one day and said 'Billy, I'm a big fan, I'm from Tasmania'. He said, 'I'm a surgeon and I have been watching you walking, you have a strange gait'. That was the way he put it.

"He said, 'You're showing distinct signs of early onset Parkinson's disease, see your doctor'."

Billy continued: "I think it was the way I held myself when I was walking. Then they did blood tests and various other little bits and pieces and told me I had it."

Talking about how his illness is affecting him, he said: " I don't see much shaking going on and I have always had a s***** memory anyway.

"I have forgotten things my entire career. I was taking drugs to control the Parkinson's but I'm not on them any more."

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