While Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1901, it was relatively unknown until the last quarter of the 20th century. Famous people with Alzheimer’s like Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan have been instrumental in increasing public awareness about the disease and efforts to find a cure.
Famous People with Alzheimer’s
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Reagan himself would later succumb to the disease, but Alzheimer’s Awareness Month continues.
Other celebrities like Glen Campbell and Rita Hayworth have heightened understanding of the illness and reduce the stigma of Alzheimer’s patients by publicly announcing their own illnesses:
1. Malcolm Young (1953 – )
Malcolm Young, legendary guitarist and co-founder of rock band AC/DC, has been playing guitar since 1969. He’s considered by some to be one of the best rhythm guitarists in the world, producing hits like “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Unfortunately, Young recently announced his retirement from music, due to a dementia diagnosis. An article states that his departure from the band follows his “complete loss of short term memory,” and that he has trouble remembering people moments after meeting them.
2. Glenn Campbell (1936 – )
Country singer and guitarist, Glen Campbell, announced in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He’s completed his “Goodbye Tour,” which concluded in Napa, California. Campbell has over 50 years in the music business and on television, and landed a historical win of four Grammy’s in 1967.
3. Pat Summitt (1952 – )
Pat Summitt coached the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team to an amazing 8 NCAA championships and retired with a record of 1,098-208. Summit recently announced that she had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She retains the title of Head Coach Emeritus, and is currently involved as an advocate for people with the disease.