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Glen Campbell appears in a 2008 promotional photo, released as part of his Meet Glen Campbell album publicity campaign. - Provided courtesy of facebook.com/glencampbellofficial

Glen Campbell, 75, is battling Alzheimer's disease

Get more: Celeb Lives
06/22/2011 by Corinne Heller

Glen Campbell, a 75-year-old country and pop singer known for the 1975 hit "Rhinestone Cowboy," recently revealed that he is battling Alzheimer's disease.

He was diagnosed six months ago after suffering from short-term memory loss for years, according to People magazine, which carried the report.

"Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer," his wife Kim told the magazine. "But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage, I wouldn't want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?'"

"I still love making music," Campbell added. "And I still love performing for my fans. I'd like to thank them for sticking with me through thick and thin."

The couple decided to go public with Campbell's diagnosis "because he's hoping to say farewell with a final slate of live performances this fall - and they want his fans to be aware of the musician's condition," People said.

The singer has released more than 60 albums through his career. Aside from "Rhinestone Cowboy," he has ruled the charts with songs such as "Bloodline" in 1976 and "Southern Nights" in 1977. Campbell last released new music of his own about three years ago.

Scientists have not yet determined what cause Alzheimers disease, which causes patients to have memory problems, hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. They say genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors all play a part, according to the National Institute of Aging.

There has been no concrete evidence that substance abuse leads to Alzheimer's disease, although a 2010 U.S. study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry suggested that people who possessed a certain protein in their body and had a history of heavy drinking or smoking were likely to be diagnosed with it nearly 10 years earlier than those with none of the risk factors.

Like many musicians, Campbell battled drug and alcohol problems for years. He said on the CNN show "Larry King Live" in 2002 that he overcame his addictions by turning to God, adding: "I just woke up and said, I can quit this. I know I can, and like I said, I prayed and I prayed. And cigarettes went. I stopped smoking. And the liquor came later. And, like, all within a span of three or four weeks. I just clean cut everything."

After he became sober, Campbell married his fourth wife Kim, a former Radio City Musical Hall dancer, in 1982. They are parents to Cal, Shannon and Ashley. The three provide backing vocals on the singer's 2008 album "Meet Glen Campbell," as do two of his other five children from previous relationships.

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