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'I just don't want to be on stage with Parkinson's', says Connolly


Comedian Billy Connolly announced his retirement in 2018

Comedian Billy Connolly announced his retirement in 2018

Comedian Billy Connolly announced his retirement in 2018

Billy Connolly has said he feels "happy in his skin" after making the "obvious" decision to retire following his Parkinson's disease diagnosis.

The 78-year-old comedian was diagnosed with the neurological condition in 2013 and announced his retirement from live performances five years later.

Connolly, known as The Big Yin, said being knighted in 2017 for services to enter- tainment and charity had offered him the "full stop" he needed to make the decision.

"It's been nice, it's funny talking about the end of my career, because I've given it up and it's strange talking about it as a thing of the past," he said, speaking about a new TV show looking back at his career.

"It's nice to come to that conclusion myself, that I should stop. It's a nice, healthy feeling."

On his decision to retire, he added: "It was obvious. I had done everything I wanted to do, and I've got this Parkin- son's and I don't want to be on stage with Parkinson's. And that's the end of it.

"And it's a natural end because I'm dead happy in my skin. I had a nice career, I did rather well, and I got knighted and that's like the full stop."

Glaswegian Connolly was famous for his ener- getic presence on stage.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include decreased mobility and difficulty speaking, leaving him unable to perform as he had.

However, he said he did not worry about the increasing impact the disease has had on his life.

"I don't care about it. It's there and I just deal with it," he said. "I don't go to meet- ings with other Parkinson's people and talk about it. I just get on with it.

"I get invited all the time to these Parkinson's Society things, to come and have lunch on a Wednesday and talk about Parkinson's. I can't imagine anything more awful.

"I went one day with my son and we were having lunch and it was less than great.


"Talking about Parkinson's, it's depressing. It's just a fact of life, it's in me and I deal with it."

Previously a vocal opponent of Scottish independence, Connolly announced his support for the movement following the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The Florida resident said he thought the country was moving towards leaving the union.

"I think they're getting close to it. They're fed up with the voting one way and getting whatever England votes for," he said.