Maybe you remember David Cassidy as a young star on The Partridge Family but, today, he’s a 66-year-old man battling dementia. In a series of interviews, including a sit-down with Dr. Phil, the former teen heartthrob explained how he came to realize that something wasn’t right.
He told Dr. Phil: “When friends or yours or family members begin to say to you, ‘Remember? I just told you this two days ago,’ and there’s no memory of it. That’s when I began to be very concerned.”
Cassidy sought medical attention and his worst fears were confirmed. He was diagnosed with dementia two and a half years ago but has been trying to continue performing without revealing the news to his fans.
Unfortunately, he had no choice but to make an announcement when things went wrong during a recent concert. During a show in Agoura Hills, California, Cassidy made headlines for falling on stage, forgetting lyrics and slurring his speech. Given his history – three DUIs since 2010 and a stint in rehab in 2014 – fans feared that he was relapsing.
Rather than allow the rumor mill to churn, Cassidy told Dr. Phil: “I certainly wasn’t intoxicated, and it has nothing to do with why I’m leaving [the industry]. Certainly, my dementia has contributed to the reason why I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want to hear, ‘Well, he looked like he was drunk.’ … I wasn’t.”
What a horrible way to end a long career. It’s understandable that he didn’t want fans to think the worse when, in reality, he’s dealing with a serious medical condition.
Mother Also Had Dementia
Cassidy remembers all too well when he watched his grandfather and then his own mother “disappear” as she grappled with dementia. “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,” he said. “I feared I would end up that way.”
Now, he’s trying to prepare his 26-year-old son, Beau, for what may lie ahead. Of the conversation, Cassidy says he told his son: “I want you to promise me you’ll find a way to let me go and don’t let me live like that.”
Having once described Beau as “just one of the best people you’ll ever meet in your life,” Cassidy reveals that his son is already seeing the effects of the disease. “He knows that I’m just a little off. Sometimes he cocks his head at me a little bit and goes, ‘Dad do you remember?’ and I say, ‘No, I know I do, I remember.’ He’ll give me reminders once in a while,” he added. “He’s such a beautiful person.”
It’s heartbreaking that Cassidy watched this disease take his grandfather and mother and, now, knows that he will probably deal with similar symptoms. It’s so sad for families to lose a someone this way. Hopefully, the disease will progress slowly so that Cassidy can continue to have a fulfilling life for years to come.