The 67-year-old singer told the magazine she was diagnosed eight months ago, but said she had suffered symptoms of the disease for eight years. Initially Ronstadt thought her symptoms were related to a tick-borne illness.
“Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose, so when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, ‘Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,’ I was completely shocked,” Ronstadt told AARP. ” I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.”
Ronstadt had a string of hits in the 1970′s including “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved” and has sold tens of millions of albums.
She told the magazine that her disease has left her without the ability to sing.
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.”
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurological diseases and occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine are destroyed. Nerve cells use dopamine to help control muscle movement and without it patients with Parkinson’s disease lose muscle function.
The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremor or trembling in hands or other extremities, slowness of movement, and impaired balance or coordination. There is no known cure for the disease.
Ronstadt told AARP she walks with the help of poles or with a wheelchair when traveling.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.