Neil Diamond on Living With Parkinson’s Disease: “I Can’t Really Fight This Thing, So I Had to Accept It”


Neil Diamond has opened up about living with Parkinson’s disease after being diagnosed with the condition in 2018.

In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the singer-songwriter behind hits like “Sweet Caroline” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” opened up about putting his life on display “warts and all” for the Broadway musical A Beautiful Noise, along with his 2018 Parkinson’s diagnosis and adjusting to life and performance with the condition.

Diamond admitted that he is still in the process of accepting the effects of the disease. “I’m still doing it. And I don’t like it,” he explained. “OK, so this is the hand that God’s given me, and I have to make the best of it, and so I am.”

During those first two years following his diagnosis, the singer-songwriter says that he was “in denial” and “just not ready to accept it” after the doctor revealed his condition. “I said, ‘Oh, OK. I’ll see you, you know, whenever you wanna see me. But I have work to do, so I’ll see you later.’

He revealed that despite being diagnosed more than a decade ago, he has just begun to accept it “in the last few weeks.”

“I can’t really fight this thing, so I had to accept it, this Parkinson’s disease. There’s no cure. There’s no getting away from it. You can’t just say, ‘OK, enough already. Let’s get back to life.’ It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “But I’ve come to accept what limitations I have, and still have great days.”

The musician noted that since accepting his diagnosis, “a calm has moved [into] the hurricane of my life, and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio.” It’s something, he says, he likes on a number of levels. “I find that I like myself better,” he continued. “I’m easier on people, I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone.”

He went on to celebrate the fact that he can still sing, and that while he had to retire from regular touring, it’s hard but he still hasn’t “given it up, yet.”

“I just have to take life as it comes to me, enjoy it, be thankful that I’ve had it, especially having the life that I’ve had,” he said.