The 73-year-old singer, best known for her Oscar-winning song “The Morning After,” took to her Facebook page on Friday (Aug. 19) to share the sad news with her fans.
“I’ve been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy with symptoms of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia,” McGovern says in a sentimental video clip after recounting her career highlights.
“What I do, or what I am still able to accomplish, has changed,” she continues. “I can no longer travel or perform in live concerts. In fact, I can no longer drive — how’s that for a kick in the butt?”
The Mayo Clinic describes posterior cortical atrophy as a “degenerative brain and nervous system (neurological) syndrome that results in difficulty with eyesight and processing visual information.” Common signs and symptoms include hallucinations, anxiety, confusion, and changes in behavior and personality.
McGovern also shared a transcript of the nearly seven-minute Facebook video on her official website.
The songstress won an Academy Award in 1972 for her song “The Morning After” from the The Poseidon Adventure. The track spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. She was also nominated for best new artist at the 16th annual Grammy Awards in 1974.
In her announcement, McGovern noted that the diagnosis “is not going to keep me from living my life” and that her “passion for music, for singing, remains profoundly robust.” The singer also plans to bring more awareness to music therapy.
“We are all patients and caregivers at some time in our lives,” McGovern says, noting that she has spent time performing hospitals, hospices, women’s prison, senior facilities and schools. “I have experienced how music and the arts free our spirits and opens our hearts to our common humanity.”