Linda Ronstadt Opens Up About Losing Her Voice to Parkinson’s Disease

Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Linda Ronstadt Opens Up About Losing Her Voice to Parkinson’s Disease
Linda Ronstadt; Photo via YouTube

Songstress Linda Ronstadt is no longer able to sing after Parkinson’s disease robbed her of her voice.

Ronstadt, who has sold more than 100 million records, opened up about her experience with the degenerative central nervous system disease during an interview with CBS This Morning which aired Sunday, Feb. 3.

“I can’t even sing in the shower,” Ronstadt tells interviewer Tracy Smith during their chat.

It was back in 2000 when Ronstadt first recognized that she was having trouble with her voice. After a few years of shouting rather than singing to her audiences, she retired from the stage in 2009. Just four years later, she learned she had Parkinson’s.

“When you’ve been able to do certain things all your life, like put your shoes on and brush your teeth or whatever — when you can’t do that, you sort of go, ‘What’s this?’” she explained. “You know, what’s happening here? Come help me with this. And then you have to learn to ask people to help, and that — that took a little doing. But I do that now, because I need the help.”

Though she’s unable to sing, Ronstadt still appears at events, sharing the stories from her decades long career. While there is no known cure for the disease, Ronstadt remains optimistic that something will come, whether its during her lifetime or not.

“I’m sure they’ll find something eventually,” she said. “They’re learning so much more about it every day. If not, I mean, I’m 72. We’re all going to die. So, they say people usually die with Parkinson’s. They don’t always die of it because it’s so slow-moving. So, I figure I’ll die of something. And I’ve watched people die, so I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying.”

Ronstadt is best known for songs including “You’re No Good,” “It’s So Easy” and “Blue Bayou.” She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Ronstadt was also a part of a trio with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. The women released Trio, that won them a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.