Maureen McGovern announced in an emotional message on social media that she’s been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia.
The 73-year-old singer, best known for her recording of the Oscar-winning song “The Morning After,” took to her Facebook page on Friday (Aug. 19) to share the sad news with her fans.
“I’ve been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy with symptoms of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia,” McGovern says in a sentimental video clip after recounting her career highlights.
“What I do, or what I am still able to accomplish, has changed,” she continues. “I can no longer travel or perform in live concerts. In fact, I can no longer drive — how’s that for a kick in the butt?”
The Mayo Clinic describes posterior cortical atrophy as a “degenerative brain and nervous system (neurological) syndrome that results in difficulty with eyesight and processing visual information.” Common signs and symptoms include hallucinations, anxiety, confusion, and changes in behavior and personality.
McGovern also shared a transcript of the nearly seven-minute Facebook video on her official website.
The singer is well known for recording two Oscar-winning songs written by the team of Al Kasha & Joel Hirschhorn. Her cover version of “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in the summer of 1973. McGovern later recorded the version of “We May Never Love Like This Again” that was featured in The Towering Inferno, but her single stalled at No. 83 on the Hot 100 in early 1975. McGovern returned to the top 20 in 1979 with “Different Worlds,” the theme song from the TV series Angie, which starred Donna Pescow.
McGovern received two Grammy nominations — best new artist of 1973 (she lost to Bette Midler) and best traditional pop vocal performance of 1998 for The Pleasure of His Company, a voice/piano album.
In her announcement, McGovern noted that the diagnosis “is not going to keep me from living my life” and that her “passion for music, for singing, remains profoundly robust.” The singer also plans to bring more awareness to music therapy.
“We are all patients and caregivers at some time in our lives,” McGovern says, noting that she has spent time performing hospitals, hospices, women’s prison, senior facilities and schools. “I have experienced how music and the arts free our spirits and opens our hearts to our common humanity.”
Watch McGovern’s announcement on Facebook here.