Updated: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 17:00 | By Bang

Billy Connolly fan spotted Parkinson's disease

A fan of Billy Connolly spotted the comedian with a ''strange gait'' and this led to him being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.


A fan of Billy Connolly spotted the comedian with a ''strange gait'' and this led to him being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

A fan of Billy Connolly spotted the comedian with a ''strange gait'' and this led to him being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Billy Connolly realised he was suffering from Parkinson's disease after a fan noticed a problem with the way he walked.

The 71-year-old star was spotted by an Australian doctor, who was on tour with a group of dancers in America, and he insisted the comedian showed a ''strange gait'' which led to Billy being diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder.

Billy told a US radio station: ''It was the strangest thing of all.

''I was walking through the lobby and every time I had gone through there was a crowd of boys and girls and a couple of adults.

''It turned out they were dancers from Australia.

''The guy who was in charge of them came over to me one day and said 'Billy, I'm a big fan, I'm from Tasmania'.

''He said, 'I'm a surgeon and I have been watching you walking, you have a strange gait'. That was the way he put it.

''He said 'You're showing distinct signs of early onset Parkinson's disease, see your doctor'.

''I think it was the way I held myself when I was walking.

''Then they did blood tests and various other little bits and pieces and told me I had it.''

Billy - who is wed to psychologist Pamela Stephenson and has five children from his two marriages - also revealed he came off his medication because the side-effects were stronger than the effects of the illness, which can include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking.

He added: ''I don't see much shaking going on and I have always had a s**t memory anyway.

''I have forgotten things my entire career. I was taking drugs to control the Parkinson's but I'm not on them anymore.

''The doctor said the side effects were stronger than the effects. I never noticed any side effects but he told me they could include a deep interest in sex and gambling.

''In terms of treatment I think some of the stem cell stuff is very promising but they have a lot of problems legally getting it through.''

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