Tony Christie has dementia
Tony Christie has been diagnosed with dementia.
The 79-year-old singer was assessed for the degenerative condition last year after noticing he was having problems with his memory, but medication has so far been able to slow the progression of the disease.
Appearing on 'Steph's Packed Lunch' on Thursday (12.01.23), he said: "I said to my wife, 'I don't know what's wrong with me, I'm starting to forget people's names and things.' She said, 'Let's go and see a specialist'.
"I had all the tests and they said it's an early start of dementia. They started me on these tablets which slowed it right down and it's really slowed it down."
Pointing to wife Sue in the audience, he then joked: "I can't remember her name now".
The '(Is This The Way To) Amarillo' hitmaker now has an autocue with his lyrics on when he's performing because it makes him feel "safe", though he doesn't need to use it "very often".
He added: "I have to have a TV screen on stage with me with the lyrics. I don't very often use it. It's there just to make me feel safe."
Despite his diagnosis, Tony - who released his first album in 1971 - has no plans to stop working.
He said: “I’m looking forward to working. I love working.
“My grandad used to say, ‘You retire, you die’ and I just said I’m not going to die.
“I’m going to carry on and carry on … I feel good. I can carry on forever, that’s how I feel.”
The veteran performer admitted in 2019 he was worried about the possibility of having dementia.
He said: "I've noticed for a few years now that my memory has been getting worse, which is a serious concern especially as there's history of dementia in my family."