THOUGHTS and PRAYERS: Linda Ronstadt: “I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying”
CBS News | Legendary singer-songwriter Linda Ronstadt opens up about her career, the loss of her singing voice, living with Parkinson’s and more, in a revealing interview for “CBS Sunday Morning,” to be broadcast Sunday, February 3.
Ronstadt, who is 72, has sold more than 100 million records and is known for such hits as “You’re No Good,” “It’s So Easy,” and “Blue Bayou.”
Ronstadt told correspondent Tracy Smith she noticed something was wrong with her voice in 2000. The problem emerged when she tried singing and couldn’t. She then found herself yelling at concerts rather than singing.
Ronstadt played her last show in 2009, and retired from the stage before she knew what was really happening to her. In 2013 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Today, Ronstadt can no longer sing. “I can’t even sing in the shower,” she said.
She doesn’t get angry at her situation – there’s no point in it, she told Smith. “When you’ve been able to do certain things all your life, like put your shoes on and brush your teeth or whatever – when you can’t do that, you sort of go, ‘What’s this?'” said Ronstadt. “You know, what’s happening here? Come help me with this. And then you have to learn to ask people to help, and that took a little doing. But I do that now, because I need the help.”
She has not disappeared, however. Last fall, before a packed house, Ronstadt appeared on stage at a theater in Los Angeles to talk about her music and her life. And this week, Ronstadt will release her first-ever live album, “Linda Ronstadt Live in Hollywood,” which includes 12 songs from a 1980 concert originally shot for an HBO special.
Also in the wide-ranging interview, Ronstadt talked with Smith about her life today, what it’s like having hit songs, getting a National Medal of Arts award, and more.
She also talks about the future and hopes for a cure for Parkinson’s. “I’m sure they’ll find something eventually,” she said. “They’re learning so much more about it every day. If not, I mean, I’m 72. We’re all going to die. So, they say people usually die with Parkinson’s. They don’t always die of it because it’s so slow-moving. So, I’ll figure I’ll die of something. And I’ve watched people die, so I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of suffering, but I’m not afraid of dying.”