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Maureen McGovern bravely faces a potentially devastating diagnosis.
The Grammy Award nominee, 73, announced she has been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) and is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in an emotional but upbeat statement on Facebook and her website on Friday.
“What I do, or what I’m still able to do, has changed. I can no longer travel or play live concerts. In fact, I can’t drive anymore — how’s that for a kick in the butt?” McGovern wrote.
PCA is described as a degenerative neurological syndrome that causes difficulty seeing and processing visual information, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition can also cause cognitive decline over time.
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“Of course, it’s a challenge, but it’s definitely not going to stop me from living my life. At first, I started having a hard time finding, in my brain, the words I wanted to say,” McGovern said. “I fought the inevitable shock with fear and frankly despair.”
“But slowly I realized that my inner life has not changed. My passion for music, for singing, remains deeply strong,” he continued. “For me, music is a language that expresses what often cannot be said in words alone – it elevates, expands and heals – it brings joy and comfort and can remove barriers by creating meaningful experiences. So, by accepting this new stage in my life, I started to embrace what I have and let it be.”
McGovern explained that she plans to continue singing and writing songs for children, in addition to raising awareness for music therapy.
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“We are all patients and caregivers at some point in our lives. I have experienced how music and the arts free our spirits and open our hearts to our common humanity,” he said. “I hope you will continue to join me in these next endeavors.”
After starting out in folk music, McGovern was asked to sing “The Morning After,” the 1972 theme song. The Adventure of Neptunewhich won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was certified gold by the RIAA The song’s popularity also earned McGovern a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist in 1974.
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McGovern sang another song that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song: “We May Never Love Like This Again,” which she performed on screen in 1974 The Towering Inferno. She was also the singer of “Wherever Love Takes Me”, which was nominated for Best Original Song in the same year, by Gold.