Legendary singer Linda Ronstadt has just made the heartbreaking announcement that she is no longer able to sing due to Parkinson’s disease.
Fox News reported that though Ronstadt, 72, said she did not retire from performing until 2009 and she did not reveal her Parkinson’s diagnosis until 2013, her voice actually started to go back in 2000.
“I’d start to sing and then it would just clamp up. It was, like, a cramp,” Ronstadt said. “My voice would freeze. And I said, ‘There’s something wrong with my voice.’ And people would say, ‘Oh, you’re just a perfectionist.’ I go, ‘No, there’s really something systemically wrong.’ And it’s very slow-moving, this disease, so it took a long time to really finally manifest.”
Ronstadt finally decided to stop performing altogether because she no longer felt that her voice was pleasing to the ear.
“I was just yelling. Instead of singing, I was just kind of yelling,” she explained. “I didn’t want to charge people for that … I could hear it. It wasn’t any fun anymore. You know, singing is … there are really a lot of things you can do with your voice; you can slide on all different sorts of textures and things. And if you’re not doing that, it’s not interesting.”
As of right now, Ronstadt can’t even sing by herself at home. When she tries to sing anything, no sound comes out.
“I can sing in my brain; I sing in my brain all the time,” Ronstadt said, “but it’s not quite the same as doing it physically. You know, there’s a physical feeling in singing that’s just like skiing down a hill, except better, ’cause I’m not a very good skier!”
“I mean, I’m 72. We’re all gonna die,” she added. “They say people usually die with Parkinson’s. They don’t always die of it, because it’s so slow-moving, so I figure I’ll die of something. And I’ve watched people die, so I’m not as afraid of dying. I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying.”
After all that she’s been through, Ronstadt has one final wish for her time on Earth.
“The way I’d like to die,” she said, “is right in the middle of a note.”
Ronstadt is no stranger to awards
Ronstadt’s song “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” won her her first Grammy in ’75 for Best Country Vocal Performance that year. Since then, she’s gone on to win 9 others and was nominated 26 times. Most recently, she earned a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Little did most of her fans know, she was no longer singing at that time.
Ronstadt had one of the greatest voices of the twentieth century, so it’s devastating to learn that she can no longer sing at all. Parkinson’s is such a cruel disease that has destroyed so many lives, and we can only hope and pray that there will soon be a cure for it. That being said, it’s inspiring that Ronstadt has not let this disease break her spirit, even though it has taken her singing voice. Though she can no longer sing, she is clearly still finding ways to enjoy her life, and we can all learn a lot from that!