Canadian band Spirit of the West co-founder and leader singer John Mann says he’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Juno Award-winning Mann, 51, said he wasn’t surprised about the diagnosis.
“I know this will come as a shock to many of you. It wasn’t for me. I’ve had my fears and suspicions, but I was remaining hopeful that there was some other cause for the problems I was experiencing,” Mann wrote in a statement on his website, posted on Monday.
“But I don’t want to spend any more energy trying to hide my symptoms. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. I want to accept what has happened and live.”
Mann said he will continue performing in shows, with the band and solo, but that he now needs to use an iPad to help him remember the songs he wrote.
“I will continue to write and tour, because this is what I do and what I love,” he wrote.
Mann battled colorectal cancer from 2009 to 2011, and made a full recovery. However, the Globe and Mail reports Mann went to see his family doctor because he was concerned he had dementia. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease around a year ago, according to the Globe.
He said the band has “circled me with care,” and that they will “forge ahead as we’ve been doing the last 30 sum odd years with humour and friendship, playing our hearts out.”
Click here to read his full statement.
The band from Vancouver is best known for their songs Home for a Rest — often referred to as “Canada’s unofficial national anthem” — If Venice is Sinking, The Crawl and Save This House. Their songs are infused with elements of folk, rock, Celtic, pop and punk music.
The band formed in 1983 and have released 13 albums, with three of them going platinum.
In a statement posted on the band’s website, the group’s members said Mann has “remained positive and proactive.”
“We, his Spirit of the West brothers, have stood behind him, foursquare, in support as he has begun to learn new strategies for day-to-day living. Those of you who have seen us in the last while know that John’s glorious voice has not suffered, nor has his customary, traditional energy. He remains the same excellent man and consummate professional he always has been,” the statement reads.
Click here to read the full statement.
Mann released his solo project, The Waiting Room, in 2014, which features songs about his experience and battle with cancer.