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Neil Diamond Speaks Out About Parkinson’s Diagnosis: ‘I Can’t Really Fight This Thing’

Photo Credit: Richard E. Aaron / Redferns / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Richard E. Aaron / Redferns / Getty Images

American singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, best known for his songs “Sweet Caroline” and “Cracklin’ Rosie,” recently opened up about his Parkinson’s diagnosis during an interview with CBS Sunday Morning. Although he’s known of his disease for years, the musician admitted he’s only recently come to terms with it, which hasn’t been an easy process.

Neil Diamond was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018

Neil Diamond posing on a red carpet
Neil Diamond attends the 2018 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. (Photo Credit: John Lamparski / WireImage / Getty Images)

Neil Diamond first learned he had Parkinson’s in 2018. At the time, he’d completed a good portion of his 50 Year Anniversary World Tour, having performed in America and Europe. After learning of his diagnosis, the shows in Australia and New Zealand were canceled, and Diamond officially announced his retirement from touring.

Diamond admitted he was “in denial” for the first two years after learning of his diagnosis and “just not ready to accept it.” A diagnosis like that isn’t easy news to learn, and the musician struggled to believe it. When the doctor informed him that he had Parkinson’s, the musician explained how, “I said, ‘Oh, OK. I’ll see you, you know, whenever you wanna see me. But I have work to do, so I’ll see you later.'”

Only just beginning to accept his diagnosis

Portrait of Neil Diamond with a seagull
Neil Diamond, 1984. (Photo Credit: Harry Langdon / Getty Images)

Neil Diamond’s diagnosis came five years ago, and he revealed in the interview with CBS Sunday Morning that he had only just begun to accept his new reality “in the last few weeks,” saying:

“I can’t really fight this thing, so I had to accept it, this Parkinson’s disease. There’s no cure. There’s no getting away from it. You can’t just say, ‘OK, enough already. Let’s get back to life.’ It doesn’t work like that. But I’ve come to accept what limitations I have, and still have great days.”

Diamond further explained that his acceptance is an ongoing process. “I’m still doing it and I don’t like it,” he said. However, he’s a lot more optimistic, adding, “OK, so this is the hand that God’s given me, and I have to make the best of it. And so I am.”

Neil Diamond has noticed a positive shift in his life

Neil Diamond posing on a red carpet
Neil Diamond at the opening night of the musical, A Beautiful Noise, on Broadway, December 2022. (Photo Credit: Bruce Glikas / WireImage / Getty Images)

Ever since he began coming to terms with his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Neil Diamond has said there’s been a noticeable shift in his life, sharing, “A calm has moved [into] the hurricane of my life, and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio. I find that I like myself better. I’m easier on people, I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone.”

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Thanks to this new outlook on situation, Diamond is happy to say that, even though he’s retired from touring, he hasn’t given up. “I just have to take life as it comes to me,” he said. “Enjoy it, be thankful that I’ve had it, especially having the life that I’ve had.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!