Billy Connolly admits his Parkinson’s is ‘getting worse’ and jokes new award has predicted his death

Sir Billy Connolly joked on Tuesday that receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Edinburgh TV Festival makes him feel like he ‘should be dead’. 

The 78-year-old comedian, who is currently battling worsening Parkinson’s disease, made the quip in a rare interview with his wife Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, 71, at their home in Florida

‘I feel I should be dead. These lifetime things, I feel like they know something that I don’t,’ joked Billy as he hinted the accolade has predicted his demise. 

'Do they know something I don't?' Billy Connolly joked his lifetime achievement award makes him feel like he 'should be dead' as he admitted his Parkinson's is 'getting worse' (pictured in 2012)

'Do they know something I don't?' Billy Connolly joked his lifetime achievement award makes him feel like he 'should be dead' as he admitted his Parkinson's is 'getting worse' (pictured in 2012)

‘Do they know something I don’t?’ Billy Connolly joked his lifetime achievement award makes him feel like he ‘should be dead’ as he admitted his Parkinson’s is ‘getting worse’ (pictured in 2012) 

The joke comes as Billy continues to battle the degenerative disease, Parkinson’s, after being diagnosed in 2013.  

When questioned in the candid chat whether his condition presented new challenges for his career, he said:  ‘Not really, but the way I think, everything is a new challenge.

‘I hardly prepare, so I turn up unprepared and everything is a new challenge. It keeps your eyes open.’ 

However, he admitted: ‘The challenges lately have been medical, aye, they’re getting worse.’ 

Tough: The morbid joke comes as Billy continues to battle Parkinson's after being diagnosed in 2013 after which he took a step back from the stage to do more TV work (pictured in 2016)

Tough: The morbid joke comes as Billy continues to battle Parkinson's after being diagnosed in 2013 after which he took a step back from the stage to do more TV work (pictured in 2016)

Tough: The morbid joke comes as Billy continues to battle Parkinson’s after being diagnosed in 2013 after which he took a step back from the stage to do more TV work (pictured in 2016) 

Referencing his struggles, he added: ‘Have you noticed I’ve been holding my left hand as we have been going on? It is starting to jump around.

‘So I will have to weigh it up and see how bad it gets, I don’t know, we will play it by ear.’ 

Last year the comedian revealed he has come to terms with the fact that his Parkinson’s disease will eventually kill him but said he is remaining positive.

He said: ‘It’s got me, it will get me and it will end me, but that’s OK with me.’ 

Loved-up: The comedian made the quip in a rare interview with his wife Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly at their home in Florida (pictured together in 2016)

Loved-up: The comedian made the quip in a rare interview with his wife Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly at their home in Florida (pictured together in 2016)

Loved-up: The comedian made the quip in a rare interview with his wife Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly at their home in Florida (pictured together in 2016) 

Sir Billy’s outrageous and achingly funny stand-up routines kept coming until a double diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson’s Disease brought his remarkable live performances to an end last year.   

Born in a tenement flat in Glasgow in 1942, orphaned by the age of four, and a survivor of appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Sir Billy’s life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds.

The actor found his escape first as an apprentice welder in the shipyards of the River Clyde, later becoming a folk musician with a genuine talent for playing the banjo.

Remarkable: Orphaned by the age of 4, and surviving appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Sir Billy's life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds (Pictured in 1985)

Remarkable: Orphaned by the age of 4, and surviving appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Sir Billy's life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds (Pictured in 1985)

Remarkable: Orphaned by the age of 4, and surviving appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Sir Billy’s life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds (Pictured in 1985)

A star is born: It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson's chat show in 1975 ¿ and one outrageous story in particular ¿ that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star

A star is born: It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson's chat show in 1975 ¿ and one outrageous story in particular ¿ that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star

A star is born: It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show in 1975 – and one outrageous story in particular – that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star

But it was his ability to spin stories, tell jokes and hold an audience in the palm of his hand that truly set him apart.   

As a young comedian, Sir Billy broke all the rules and was fearless and outspoken. But his stand-up was full of warmth, humility and silliness too.

His startling, hairy ‘glam-rock’ stage appearance – wearing leotards, scissor suits and banana boots – only added to his appeal.

It was a flamboyant appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show in 1975 – and one outrageous story in particular – that catapulted Sir Billy from cult hero to national star. 

Sir Billy! TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed, and the star was knighted in 2017 (pictured)

Sir Billy! TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed, and the star was knighted in 2017 (pictured)

Sir Billy! TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed, and the star was knighted in 2017 (pictured)

Teary-eyed: Sir Billy announced his retirement after 50 years in stand-up last year but insisted he's in 'great health' despite his diagnosis

Teary-eyed: Sir Billy announced his retirement after 50 years in stand-up last year but insisted he's in 'great health' despite his diagnosis

Teary-eyed: Sir Billy announced his retirement after 50 years in stand-up last year but insisted he’s in ‘great health’ despite his diagnosis

TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed, and the star was knighted in 2017. 

The Scottish comedian met wife Pamela on the set of BBC comedy show Not The Nine O’Clock News in 1970 and they married in 1989. 

Billy has two children, Jamie, 51, and Cara, 47, from his first marriage to Iris Pressagh. He and Pamela are parents to Daisy, 36, Amy, 34 and Scarlett, 32. 

Since stepping away from stand-up, The Last Samurai star has continued making TV shows, creating extraordinary drawings, and writing. 

WHAT IS PARKINSON’S DISEASE? 

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.

Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.  

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