In a shocking and saddening statement released Friday, civil rights icon Jesse Jackson announced he is battling Parkinson's disease.
In his official statement, Jackson, 76, revealed he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder in 2015 and has been treated as an outpatient for the last several years, reported NBC Chicago.
"My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago. For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor. But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced," Jackson's statement reads.
Parkinson's disease is most known for causing tremors, body stiffness and difficulty with walking and balancing. Jackson's father also suffered from the illness, which some doctors say could worsen his outlook.
"After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson's disease, a disease that bested my father," reads Jackson's statement.
"Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it. For me, a Parkinson's diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease's progression."
After the civil rights leader announced his medical update, people from far and wide sent their support.
Jackson finished his statement by saying he will continue to fight for the disenfranchised people of this country and is working on a memoir.
"KEEP HOPE ALIVE!" he wrote.
You can read Jackson's entire announcement here.
(Photo: Francois G. Durand/Getty Images)
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