The Rev. Jesse Jackson announced Friday that he has Parkinson’s disease, saying that he first noticed symptoms “about three years ago.”
The longtime political and social activist, who was part of Martin Luther King Jr.’s inner circle in the 1960s and who later founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said that after noticing signs of the motor system disorder, he attempted to work through it.
“But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced,” Jackson wrote in a statement released Friday.
“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father,” he said. “Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it.”
Jackson has been receiving outpatient treatment for the disease from Northwestern Medicine, which released its own short statement about his condition. The facility says Jackson was first diagnosed in 2015.
Jackson added, “For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign,” saying that he will do what he can to slow the disease, through physical therapy and changes to his lifestyle.