Billy Connolly is bravely fighting a losing battle with Parkinson’s disease. This week one of his oldest friends, Sir Michael Parkinson, discussed a truly heartbreaking moment with the 75-year-old cultural icon.
On Saturday Morning with James Martin, Sir Michael said Connolly could no longer recognize his closest friends. He described a “sad and awkward” encounter after presenting Connolly with an award in New York.
The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled,” Sir Michael said. “I saw him recently – he’s now living in America – and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an award ceremony. We had an awkward dinner together, because I wasn’t quite sure if he knew who I was or not.”
Sir Michael continued to explain that Connolly “wasn’t sure where [the dinner] was or what context at all”.
“To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy… it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense.”
Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. He made his diagnosis public in 2013 in an attempt to raise awareness for the condition, which affects he victim’s brain causing involuntary shaking, disrupts sleep patterns, and can contribute to memory loss, depression, and anxiety.