Former 1960s teen pop idol Bobby Vee says he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The 69-year-old, born Robert Velline in Fargo, N.D., says on his website that he was diagnosed last year.
"Needless to say it was a moment that stunned my family and myself to the core," the singer writes. "Since this time I have chosen to remain private and to focus on what is most important to me: my family and my music."
Vee's wife of 48 years, Karen Velline, is also dealing with health issues. She's on a waiting list for a lung transplant at Duke University. "Together and with our amaing family we treasure each moment," he says. "And we hope and pray for the best outcomes."
Vee was catapulted to stardom after the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "Big Bopper" Richardson in a 1959 plane crash en route to Moorhead, Minn. Vee and his friends filled in for the trio at the Moorhead performance and soon after that he recorded his first single, "Suzie Baby," for Soma Records in Minneapolis.
The singer says he is working on a new album and posted his version of the Townes Van Zandt classic, "If I Needed You," online. In the video, images of Vee's family mix with studio footage. Watch: