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Glen Campbell, Alzheimer’s Disease: Singer Takes It ‘As It Comes’

Neil H Kitson/Redferns

Glen Campbell shocked music fans last year when he announced he was battling Alzheimer’s disease. The 75-year-old, who is currently in the middle of a farewell tour, admits each day can be a challenge as he fights the illness.

“I just take it as it comes,” he tells CNN. “I know that I have a problem with that, but it doesn’t bother me. If you’re going to have it handed to you, you have got to take it, anyway. So that is the way I look at it.”

The country icon maintains he is still the same person he was before he received the diagnosis. “I don’t see myself any different, though. I’m forgetful,” he shares. “I realize you are going to make mistakes through life. Just don’t make any bad ones, you know. Like all of my records are perfect records, but I did make mistakes on them. I would rather do live than any kind of lip-synching or something like that. I don’t like to lip-synch.”

The ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ singer performed last night (Feb. 12), along with the Band Perry and Blake Shelton, as part of the 54th annual Grammys, where he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I am flattered. I really am,” he says of the honor. “All I wanted to do every since I could remember was play my guitar and sing.” The tunesmith acknowledges that his wife of 30 years, Kim Campbell, deserves much of the credit for his success over the past several decades.

“She did change my life in many ways,” concedes the multi-platinum-selling singer. “Before I met her, I didn’t know where I was at, or where I was going. And after I met her, I knew where I was going, and I knew where to wanted to go. Do everything according to God, and be nice, and treat other people the way you would like to be treated. We both go on that bit of advice there.”

Glen is surrounded onstage by three of his children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley, who are part of his current band. But they find that their role expands far beyond playing their instruments night after night.

“He looks at me sometimes if he is confused, and I just smile at him,” Ashley reveals. “I just try to make him feel like he is surrounded by people that love him on stage.”

Still, the country music legend says he is completely at peace with his life, even with the degenerative disease. “I am content with it. Don’t cry over spilt milk,” he insists. “Get up and be a man and do what you have got to do.”

Last year, Glen released ‘Ghost on the Canvas,’ a critically acclaimed album of new tunes. He followed that with a 60-song collection, ‘The Legendary Glen Campbell,’ which features some of his most memorable tunes, including ‘Galveston,’ ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘Southern Nights.’ His farewell tour continues with upcoming stops in Arizona, California and Connecticut. See his remaining tour dates here.

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