Country singer Hal Ketchum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Grand Ole Opry member, who recently celebrated his 66th birthday on April 9, also announced his retirement in a Facebook post shared on his official page on Sunday by his wife Andrea.
“I know everyone is wondering why there are no future tour dates, and speculations as to the reason. Our family would like to share the cause for this,” Andrea said in a statement, alongside a photo of Ketchum performing at the Opry.
“Unfortunately, Hal is suffering from Alzheimer’s/ Dementia. He has been battling this for some time now, but because of his love for his fans, he continued performing as long as it was possible,” Andrea wrote.
“Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness and now it’s time for Hal to stay home with loved ones,” she said. “Hal is otherwise healthy and happy, enjoying time with his family and friends. We all deeply appreciate how much love that you all have for Hal and how much his music means to you!”
Andrea also gave heartfelt thanks to guitarist Kenny Grimes, who toured with Ketchum recently. “This last year of shows would not have been possible,” she said of Grimes’ partnership.
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Ketchum, who is best known for his singles “Small Town Saturday Night,” “Hearts Are Gonna Roll,” “Five O’Clock World” and “Sure Love,” received heartfelt messages from his famous friends, including fellow Opry members, The Oak Ridge Boys.
“This is very sad NEWS… We have always thought highly of HAL… Prayers for Hal Ketchum and family,” the band tweeted.
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