Music news

Tony Christie goes public with dementia diagnosis

Tony Christie on the bbc breakfast sofa

Tony Christie has said he will carry on touring and making music after being diagnosed with dementia two years ago.

The Amarillo singer was interviewed on BBC Breakfast earlier this week where he spoke about living with the deliberating condition.

"If you start worrying about it, you're finished. Ignore it, carry on and do what you do," he said.

Christie, 79, twigged something wasn’t quite right when he started struggling to complete crossword puzzles.

"I've always been, for 50 years, a fanatic at doing crosswords and things, and suddenly I started finding it very hard," Christie said.

His wife, Sue, advised him to go and see a doctor who told him he had “the oncoming of dementia.”

Determined not to let the illness take over his music career, which includes hits such as I Did What I Did For Maria and Avenues And Alleyways, he “"I ignored it. I just said carry on - and I just did carry on, and worked.”

"The main thing was, and why I've come out about it, is a lot of people I've met and who have got it, they're worried about it,” Christie said.

"And I'm not worried about it. I went to specialists and they gave me tablets and they've gradually worked."

The singer, whose real name is Anthony Fitzgerald, believes there is a cure for the condition on the horizon.

"I've got a feeling that, within a few years, there will be tablets that will cure it. So I just carry on working,” he said.

Christie is about to hit the road again to celebrate his 80th birthday and recently released his new album, Essential Tony Christie.

"I'm starting a big, big tour this year. It's going to be very busy but I'm looking forward to it.

"And music, actually, I found out is part of a cure for dementia, so every time I go on stage and work it's helping me," he said.

To overcome his memory loss lyrics to his songs will be displayed on a monitor when he performs them live.

"Most of the time it's there like insurance, but I manage to get through my shows, it's great," he said.

"But, don't forget, I've been singing for 60 years or whatever, and I've got an album out. It's 70 songs... going back to 1967 - a lot of songs."

[ For help and support visit the Dementia UK website ]

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