Billy Connolly says 'peculiar' Parkinson's disease has left him unable to play instruments

·Contributor
·2 min read
Grand Marshal Billy Connolly and Family (Wife Pamela Stephenson, daughters Scarlett and Amy) during the New York City Tartan Day Parades, in New York, on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Grand Marshal Billy Connolly and Family (Wife Pamela Stephenson, daughters Scarlett and Amy) during the New York City Tartan Day Parades, in New York, on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Billy Connolly has said he's no longer able to play musical instruments due to the impact of Parkinson's disease on his motor functions. 

The comedian has said his left hand is of "no use" to him anymore because of the condition, which he was diagnosed with in 2013. 

Parkinson's is a condition which progressively damages parts of the brain and can result in tremors, inflexible muscles and balance issues among other physical and psychological symptoms.

Watch: Billy Connolly says he has learnt to 'hypnotise' his hand when it shakes

Connolly, 78, gave a update on how he was coping with the disease on BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright in The Afternoon show on Tuesday. 

Read more: Billy Connolly's wife shares his sex confessions on social media

"I have good days and bad days, I had a bad day today, " he told the host. "When I was coming in on the way here I was walking like a drunk man but it's cured itself so I'm quite happy. 

"It's a peculiar disease. It strikes when you least expect it. My left hand is of no use to me anymore so I don't play my instruments anymore. I just get on without them.

Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Sir Billy Connolly with his wife Pamela Stephenson. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

"You have to give up things," he continued. "It picks bits you like and gets rid of them."

The scotsman was a player of the guitar and banjo, recording multiple comedy and musical albums throughout his career.

Connolly, who announced his retirement from comedy in 2018, has previously talked on other symptoms of Parkinson's he's experienced. 

Watch: Billy Connolly says 'good days outnumber the bad days' in Parkinson's battle

Back in 2019, he said he was having to sleep in a separate bed to wife Pamela Stephenson because he slept "like a wild animal". 

Read more: Billy Connolly now believes in an afterlife

Connolly also addressed his deteriorating condition in a BBC documentary in 2019. 

He spoke about the quick changes that can come with having Parkinson's, stating: "What works on a Monday to get you out of a chair doesn't always work by Wednesday. It can be a cruel disease."

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