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Alzheimer’s ravages country star Glen Cambell, can’t play guitar

Glen Campbell illness

The 78-year-old Campbell now lives in a senior’s care and memory home in Nashville, back there after recently trying to live at home again. It wasn’t to be, however, and his wife Kim, 56 and married to the Rhinestone Cowboy for 33 years, told media the disease is so advanced her husband has lost muscle memory in his hands.

While he cannot play the guitar, many of his children can and, Kim says, do. They come to visit him regularly and play for their Dad, though Mom told the Tampa Bay Times that she’s not always certain he’s actually aware of what they’re doing.

“He cannot play guitar anymore. I don’t even know if he knows what it’s for.” Kim told Times reporter Steve Persall. “But our children come and play for him. It’s hard to tell if he’s responding to it much. Sometimes he’ll listen and sometimes he’s distracted. He’s in his own world right now.”

While the news is bleak in most respects he is, she said, “getting great care” at the facility he is in. The name of the facility is being kept under wraps as fans still want to come and visit him but that is no longer possible.

Kim Campbell said that despite everything he’s doing okay. “He’s happy, he’s cheerful,” she said. “He’s healthy but he has lost most of his language skills. He doesn’t understand anything anyone is saying to him.”

Glen Campbell: 8 children

His wife also said that she is happy he’s been able to maintain his faith in God through it all. She added that they also find strength in the fact that at the care facility they are surrounded by people also facing the disease.

“There’s life and energy and community (here),” she said. “He’s there with other people — doctors, lawyers — who are all facing the same thing. I’m in a community with other family members who are going through the same thing.”

She noted that there are times that his illness frustrates him, such as when he is being bathed or dressed, things he can no longer do for himself. Once he punched her, gave her a black eye, while she was dressing him, something he had never done before.

“I know he loves me and it’s not anything to do with (abuse),” Kim said. “It’s just that he can’t communicate and that’s his reflex.”

Along with his signature song ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, Campbell had other massive hits, including ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix,’ ‘Gentle on My Mind,’ ‘Galveston’ and ‘Wichita Lineman.’ He’s been married 4 times and has 8 children, the last 3 with Kim.

He last toured in 2012 and while it was a successful series of concerts, his performance was often marred by memory problems related to his dementia.

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