It was announced earlier this week that country music star Glen Campbell, 78, has been moved into an Alzheimer’s facility. In a statement they gave to Rolling Stone, Campbell’s family said,“Sadly, Glen’s condition has progressed enough that we were no longer able to keep him at home. He is getting fantastic care and we get to see him every day. Our family wants to thank everyone for their continued prayers, love and support.”
The Rhinestone Cowboy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, but he continued to perform despite his diagnosis. Campbell set out on a global farewell tour and released two new LPs– 2011’s Ghost on the Canvas and 2013’s See You There. Though he was already beginning to forget his song lyrics and sometimes made mistakes during performances, Campbell was able to keep performing with the help of his family. Three of his children, including his youngest daughter Ashley who is 25, joined their father’s backup band for the tour. Talented musicians themselves, their main purpose for going on tour with their father was to care for him as the disease progressed. Campbell would often begin playing a song he had just finished playing during the performance, but his children were there to remind him of it. He would then joke about his forgetfulness on stage and move on like nothing had happened. Campbell’s daughter Ashley told CBS Sunday Morning that she and her brothers were there to help their father when he got lost. Plus, they didn’t want anyone to think his memory loss was caused by anything other than Alzheimer’s.
“I feel a little protective of him, you know,” she said. “I just want to make sure if he needs anything from me, I’m there and I’m paying attention.”
In that same interview, Ashley told CBS Sunday Morning that she missed the man her father was, but was still very proud when she watched him perform during his Goodbye Tour.
Instead of giving up after hearing his diagnosis, Glen Campbell continued to do what he loved for as long as he was able to. He and his family didn’t hide his diagnosis from the public either. They were open from the beginning. Even when Campbell began forgetting that he was ever diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, his wife wasn’t afraid to speak out.
Campbell’s Goodbye Tour ended early due to the progression of his disease, but the Alzheimer’s Association and other advocacy groups are saying that what he and his family have done despite the disease is unprecedented and inspirational. On May 17, 2012, he performed at an Alzheimer’s event at the Library of Congress.