Comedy legend’s shock announcement
Comedy great Sir Billy Connolly has quit stand-up comedy for good as he battles Parkinson's disease.
The 77-year-old went public with his diagnosis of the degenerative condition in 2013.
In a new interview, Connolly said his condition had worsened to the point he felt he was unable to continue.
The disease, Connolly said, "made my brain work differently - and you need a good brain for comedy."
He added: "I'm finished with stand-up - it was lovely and it was lovely being good at it. It was the first thing I was ever good at," adding that he sometimes "gets upset" about his condition.
"Certain things go wrong, your brain goes adrift and affects your body, and so you walk differently, you walk like a drunk man sometimes. And you're frightened you'll be judged on it. And you shake sometimes," he said.
But the beloved Glaswegian personality said despite having to leave the live stage for good, he wouldn't let his condition take over his life.
Connolly told Sky News: "I'm always being asked to go to Parkinson's things and spend time with Parkinson's people, having lunch or something like that.
"And I don't approve of it.
"I don't think you should let Parkinson's define you and all your pals be Parkinson's people.
"I don't think it's particularly good for you. So I don't do it."
On Twitter, fans were gutted by the news.
"Billy Connolly saying here he was "good" at stand up is the most outrageous thing he's ever said. He wasn't good, he was the best ever," one said.
Others were similarly shattered:
The Big Yin has said he’s finished with stand up. Probably the greatest stand up comedian ever, in my view. I’m soooo glad I got to see him in 2016. I’ll cherish that night forever 🏴 #BillyConnolly— Jo McShane (@J_M_McShane) March 6, 2020
It was great. Now look after yourself. Biggest of smiles when I think of you. A great talent , makes others laugh. 👏👏👏— Jozi South Africa (@REVOLP) March 6, 2020
Sad sad news, was glad I caught him on what will be his last tour....he is a comedy legend— Jon Gibbons (@Gibbopool) March 6, 2020
Actor, musician, presenter and artist Sir Billy Connolly started his career as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards.
At the end of the 60s, he embarked on a career as a folk musician, moving into comedy in the 70s, going on to secure himself as one of the most gifted observational comics there is.
In 2017, he was knighted in Buckingham Palace by Prince William for services to entertainment and charity.
Speaking to Sky News, he had this inspiring message:
"I hope little schoolboys and school leavers are watching me doing these things and see, you can do what you like. You can write plays. You can write songs. You can be funny on stage and play the banjo. You can do drawings.
"Nobody came along with a magic wand and said, you're allowed to do that now.
"You just have to do it and stretch yourself."
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.