Maureen McGovern bravely faces a potentially devastating diagnosis.
The Academy Award-winning musician, 73, announced that she had been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) and was showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in an emotional, but optimistic statement on Facebook and her website Friday.
“What I do, or what I can still achieve, has changed. I can no longer travel or perform at live concerts. In fact, I can no longer drive — how about a kick in the ass?” McGovern wrote.
PCA is described as a degenerative neurological syndrome that causes difficulties with vision and processing visual information, according to the Mayo Clinic. This condition can also cause cognitive decline over time.
“Of course, it’s a challenge, but it won’t stop me from living my life. At first, I started having trouble finding, in my brain, the words I wanted to say,” McGovern said. “I struggled with the inevitable shock with fear and frankly despair.”
“But slowly I realized that my inner life has not changed. My passion for music, singing, remains very strong,” she continued. “For me, music is a language that expresses what often cannot be said with mere words – it lifts, expands, and heals – it brings joy and comfort and can remove barriers by creating meaningful experiences. So, accepting a new stage in life me, I started accepting what I had and letting it go.”
McGovern explained that she plans to continue singing and writing songs for children, in addition to raising awareness for music therapy.
“We are all patients and nurses at some time in our lives. I have experienced how music and art free our spirits and open our hearts to our shared humanity,” she said. “I hope you will continue to join me in my next endeavor.”
After starting out in folk music, McGovern was tapped to sing “The Morning After,” the theme song to 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was certified gold by the R.I.A.A. The song’s popularity also earned McGovern a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist in 1974.
McGovern won her second Oscar for “We May Never Love Like This Again,” which she also appeared on screen in 1974’s The Towering Inferno. She was also nominated in 1974 for Gold’s “Wherever Love Takes Me”.
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