Hal Ketchum Reveals Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
Ketchum's wife Andrea explains that she, her husband and their family decided to share Ketchum's diagnosis because fans have been wondering why he has no future scheduled tour dates, and speculating about the reason for the lack of upcoming shows. Andrea says that her husband has been living with Alzheimer's and dementia "for some time now," but continued performing "because of his love for his fans ... as long as it was possible."
"Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness, and now it's time for Hal to stay home with loved ones," Andrea says. "Hal is otherwise healthy and happy, enjoying time with his family and friends."
Andrea shares that Ketchum and his family are appreciative of fans' love for the artist, and grateful to the musicians who have performed with Ketchum throughout his career. She specifically calls out guitarist Kenny Grimes, "without whom this last year of shows would not have been possible."
Although Ketchum is dealing with Alzheimer's and dementia, Andrea says that she's continued to read fans' Facebook comments to him and will keep checking in via social media. She does not provide further information about how far progressed Ketchum's diagnosis is.
A native of Greenwich, N.Y., Ketchum -- who turned 66 on April 9 -- first began his country music career in Austin, Texas. After moving to Nashville, Ketchum signed with Curb Records and released his debut album, Past the Point of Rescue, in 1991; both the title track and "Small Town Saturday Night" hit No. 2 on the country charts.
In addition to his music, Ketchum is a painter and master carpenter. He previously dealt with a health setback in 1998, when he was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, which left him without the use of the left side of his body.
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