The musician opened up about how the diagnosis has affected his lifestyle on 'Good Morning America'.

By Leah Groth
January 21, 2020

Ozzy Osbourne is opening up about his health struggles, revealing that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in February 2019.

In an interview with Robin Roberts on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Ozzy, his wife Sharon, and two of their three children, Kelly, 35, and Jack, 34, had a family discussion about the musician’s incredibly difficult year.

“It’s been terribly challenging for us all,” the 71-year-old singer told Roberts, referring to the past 12 months. “I did my last show New Year’s Eve at The Forum. Then I had a bad fall. I had to have surgery on my neck, which screwed all my nerves,” he said.

In addition to suffering from pneumonia, the next month he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, according to the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIA).

"It's PRKN2," his wife interjected. "There's so many different types of Parkinson's; it's not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination, but it does affect certain nerves in your body. And it's—it's like you have a good day, a good day, and then a really bad day."

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According to Sharon Stoll, DO, a Yale Medicine neurologist, PRKN2 is actually a genetic mutation that can lead to Parkinson’s disease. “It is autosomal recessive, so a mutation in the gene needs to come from both sets of parents and usually leads to early onset Parkinson’s disease,” she tells Health. She adds that PRKN2 is treated the exact same way as Parkinson’s disease.

The musician, who had postponed the remainder of his 2019 tour in April, decided to reveal his diagnosis since he’s “no good with secrets,” he said. “I cannot walk around with it anymore ’cause it’s like I’m running out of excuses, you know?”

His treatment includes Parkinson’s medication and nerve pills, and while he admits it has been helping, he says that accepting his condition mentally has been tough.

“Coming from a working-class background, I hate to let people down. I hate to not do my job,” he continued. “And so when I see my wife goin’ to work, my kids goin’ to work, everybody’s doing—tryin’ to be helpful to me, that gets me down because I can’t contribute to my family, you know.”

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In addition to this mental hurdle, he has been experiencing numbness in his arm and his legs “keep going cold," he said. "I don't know if that's the Parkinson's or what, you know, but that's -- see, that's the problem. Because they cut nerves when they did the surgery."

Luckily, his family has been a huge support.

“We have all played a role,” Kelly said. “But the only thing I know is what can I do to make him smile? I know going to the studio makes him happy. That’s what I did. Everything else was him.”

His son, Jack, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, can relate to the struggles his father is experiencing. “I understand when you have something you don’t want to have,” he admitted.

The next step in Ozzy’s treatment is seeing a professional in Switzerland in April, who specializes in “getting your immune system at its peak,” Sharon explained. “We’ve kind of reached a point here in this country where we can’t go any further because we’ve got all the answers we can get here.”

Ozzy promised to return to music soon and pointed to his fans as inspiration.  “They’re my air, you know,” he said. “I feel better. I’ve owned up to the fact that I have — a case of Parkinson’s. And I just hope they hang on and they’re there for me because I need them.”

“He’s gonna get back out there,” added Sharon. “And he’s gonna do what he loves to do; I know it.”

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