Former teen idol David Cassidy said on Monday he was suffering from dementia, a day after weekend performances in California in which he forgot his words and appeared to fall off stage raised concern about his health.
The actor-singer, widely known for his starring role as Keith Partridge on the 1970s series The Partridge Family, revealed that he is fighting the memory loss disease.
Cassidy, 66, told People magazine he was fighting dementia, a disease which his mother also suffered from. He said he watched his grandfather battle the disease and witnessed his mother “disappear” into dementia until she died at age 89.
Of his mother’s struggles, Cassidy recalls: “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room. … I feared I would end up that way.”
“I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,” Cassidy told People.
Cassidy has made the decision to stop touring as a musician to concentrate on his health and happiness. “I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions,” he says. “I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”
“I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been, without any distractions,” he said. ‘I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”
Cassidy’s publicist said his comments were accurate but gave no further details.
His comments followed videos taken by fans of the singer struggling to remember words to some of his old hits at small venue concerts in southern California on Saturday and Sunday. At one point, he appeared to fall off the side of a small stage before climbing back up.
Cassidy, whose hits “Cherish” and “I Think I Love You” had teenage girls swooning in the 1970s, has struggled with drinking and financial troubles in recent years.
In 2015, he had to auction his Florida home after a bankruptcy filing. He was arrested three times for drunken driving between 2010 and 2014, and was ordered to rehab as part of his sentence in 2014.
Cassidy appeared in several stage shows after his career as a solo singer declined. He played an aging former teen heartthrob in the short-lived 2009 TV comedy “Ruby & the Rockits” and was a member of the “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show in 2011.
Cassidy received an Emmy nomination for his appearance on Police Story in 1978, and was most recently seen on TV in a 2013 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.