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'Kick in the butt': Singer Maureen McGovern, 73, reveals symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

The Oscar-winning singer shared the news through an emotional video on her Facebook page but said that it would not stop her from living life
UPDATED AUG 21, 2022
Oscar winning Singer Maureen McGovern revealed that she had been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Oscar winning Singer Maureen McGovern revealed that she had been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: Illness knows no barrier. Oscar-winning singer Maureen McGovern took to Facebook to share a video, revealing that her life "has now taken a different path" as she has been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) with symptoms of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. 

Describing the diagnosis as a "kick in the butt", the Broadway star said, "What I do, or what I am still able to accomplish, has changed. I can no longer travel or perform in live concerts. In fact, I can no longer drive..." The video was posted on her Facebook page on Friday, August 19. 


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Her video is very emotional. The video begins with the star recounting her life's experiences from the age of 18. From beginning her solo career in folk music to performing globally in concerts alongside the greatest of musicians and symphony orchestras, to the other side of her career as an actor. In addition to working in musical theatre programs from New York to California. She is best known for essaying the role of the singing nun in the 1980 film, 'Airplane!'

Rising to fame with 'The Morning After' which she sang for the 1972 thriller, 'The Poseidon Adventure', McGovern never stopped. Her performance fetched her an Oscar for the song.

Actress/ singer Maureen McGovern poses for a photo backstage following her performance at 54 Below on March 14, 2015 in New York City.
Maureen McGovern shared the devastating news that she was exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in a Facebook video on Friday, August 19 (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Now, her diagnosis comes as a "challenge" to her. Describing her symptoms, she said, "At first, I began having trouble finding, in my brain, the words I wanted to say. I struggled with the inevitable shock with fear and frankly hopelessness." However, she asserted that this would not stop her "from living [her] life" as her "inner life has not changed." 

Many have often called upon the therapeutic effects of music and who better to affirm this than the legendary singer herself? "My passion for music, for singing, remains profoundly robust," she said, adding, "To me, music is a language that expresses what often cannot be said with just words – it elevates, expands, and heals – brings joy and comfort and can eliminate barriers by creating meaningful experiences. So, accepting this new stage in my life, I began to embrace what I have and let it be."

Actress/ singer Maureen McGovern performs at 54 Below on March 14, 2015 in New York City.
Maureen McGovern won an Oscar for her song 'The Morning After' for the 1972 thriller 'The Poseidon Adventure' (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Consequently, she plans to work towards bringing more attention and awareness to music therapy. "Having performed in hospitals, hospices, women’s prison, senior facilities, schools, and the joy of singing with young children, I have loved writing songs for kids, and I will continue to do so," said the singer.

She concludes her video with the thought that everyone was a patient and a caregiver at some point of their lives and that she has experienced how "music and the arts free our spirits and opens our hearts to our common humanity."

The singer's post on Facebook was met with an outpouring of love and support, with people thanking her for her efforts in music over the last four decades.