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article imageBilly Connolly has Parkinson's and undergoes cancer surgery

By Tim Sandle     Sep 16, 2013 in Entertainment
Comedian and actor Billy Connolly has stated that he has had surgery for prostate cancer and that he has also been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Billy Connolly has announced two health related issues on the same day: cancer and Parkinson's disease. Connolly, aged 70, is a Scottish actor and comedian.
Connolly began his career, after leaving a steel mill, as a folk singer (in a band that included Gerry Rafferty). In the early 1970s, he made the transition from folk-singer with a comedic persona to full-fledged comedian. After growing in popularity as a stand-up act, Connolly moved into acting. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Indecent Proposal (1993); Muppet Treasure Island (1996); Mrs. Brown (1997); The Last Samurai (2003); Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004); The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008); and Brave (2012). Most recently, Connolly stars in The Hobbit film series as Dain Ironfoot, a character described as a great dwarf warrior.
In relation to the double-blow of two illnesses, the following is known:
"Billy Connolly recently underwent minor surgery in America after being diagnosed with the very early stages of prostate cancer," according to a statement from the actor's agent to the BBC. The statement goes on to state that "In addition, Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson's disease, for which he is receiving the appropriate treatment." In relation to the surgery, the agent added "The operation was a total success, and Billy is fully recovered."
Whilst the news relating to the cancer surgery is promising, the longer term effects of Parkinson's are unknown. Steve Ford, Chief Executive at Parkinson’s UK, told The Independent that: “Billy Connolly is a much loved comedy legend and we are sorry to hear that he is being treated for the early symptoms of Parkinson’s. One person every hour will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the UK, despite this it remains a little understood condition and we salute Billy’s bravery in speaking out about his condition at this difficult time. Parkinson’s can be a very difficult condition to diagnose, as no two people with Parkinson’s are the same, with symptoms – such a slowness of movement or tremor – changing on a daily, or even hourly basis.
Many people, with the right medication, continue to live a full and active live with Parkinson’s, but for some, it can be life changing and it is vital that Billy gets the support he needs to live with this complex condition. We wish Billy and his family all the best as they come to terms with this upsetting diagnosis.”
Billy Connolly has been married to his second wife, comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson, since 1989. In 2003, the BAFTA presented him with a Lifetime Achievement award. Also in 2003, he received a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honors.
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