The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, the longtime civil rights leader and former Democratic presidential candidate, said Friday he has Parkinson’s disease.
In a letter posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon, Mr. Jackson, 76, shared the news and his struggle to accept it.
“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he wrote. “For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”
Parkinson’s is a movement disorder. Its symptoms include muscle tremors and stiffness and poor balance and coordination. It typically begins after age 50 and can cause difficulty sleeping, chewing, swallowing or speaking.
Mr. Jackson has been a civil rights advocate for 50 years and sought the Democratic presidential nominations in 1984 and 1988. He was also a close associate of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mr. Jackson wrote that he and his family about three years ago began to notice he was having increasing difficulty performing routine tasks and was initially reluctant to see doctors.