Sir Billy Connolly has released a cheerful musical message assuring fans that he’s “not dead” after speaking candidly about death and living with Parkinson’s disease during a TV documentary.
The 76-year-old gave a frank update on his health during the BBC documentary Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland, in which he said: “My life, it’s slipping away and I can feel it and I should.”
However, in a less sombre video message posted online by his wife, Pamela Stephenson, Connolly is seen gleefully strumming a banjo and singing: “Not dying, not dead, not slipping away. Sorry if I depressed you. Maybe I should have phrased it better.”
Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition, in 2013, and announced his retirement from touring last month.
In the documentary, he said: “I’m near the end. I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me, it’s an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.
“As bits slip off and leave me, talents leave and attributes leave. I don't have the balance I used to have, I don't have the energy I used to have. I can't hear the way I used to hear, I can't see as good as I used to. I can't remember the way I used to remember.
“And they all came one at a time and they just slipped away, thank you. It is like somebody is in charge of you and they are saying, ‘Right, I added all these bits when you were a youth, now it is time to subtract.’”
The second part of the documentary aired on BBC2 on Friday 4 January. Read The Independent’s review.
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