Alzheimer’s Association Reacts To Country Music Legend’s Death Following Diagnosis

The country music scene is mourning the loss of a legend. Singer Glen Campbell passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81. The news isn’t just hitting his fans hard, but an organization aimed at fighting the disease that killed him.

The Alzheimer’s Association says Glen Campbell shined a spotlight on the disease. Campbell first announced his diagnosis to the world in an interview in 2011. He followed it up with an international farewell tour in 2012.

Alzheimer’s Association-South Dakota Chapter Executive Dir. Leslie Morrow said, “He lived it so publicly. I remember when his documentary first aired and we saw a noticeable up-tick in the people that called us because I think, you know, he was so beloved, and people felt like if he could show us what this disease looks like maybe it’s okay that I share it too.”

The Association says there are five million people living with the disease in the United States, and at least 17,000 people in South Dakota. They say the disease starts off with some confusion and short-term memory loss.

“By the end of this journey, people typically forget how to swallow, they forget how to breathe and so that’s the end that we’re looking at,” said Morrow.

Campbell lived more than six years after he was diagnosed with the disease at 74-years-old.

Morrow said, “We say it can range anywhere from 2 to 20 years, but the average is about eight to nine years.”

The Association says Alzheimer’s is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. that can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed down.

“We understand how critical it is that we find the key to this disease and really unlock it for so many generations to come,” Morrow said.

The Association is the largest non-profit funding source of Alzheimer’s research in the world. They raise a lot of that money through their ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’. The next one takes place in Sioux Falls at 8th and Railroad on Sept. 16.