January 1, 2013 13:31

Bobby Womack announces he's suffering from Alzheimer's

Doctors have told soul icon he's in early stages of the disease

Bobby Womack announces he's suffering from Alzheimer's

Photo: Press

Bobby Womack has revealed he's suffering from brain disorder Alzheimer’s.

The 68-year-old, who released his first single in 1954, has admitted he struggles to recall the names of his songs and those of his collaborators.

He said: “The doctor says there are signs of Alzheimer’s. It’s not bad yet but will get worse.

He added: "How can I not remember songs I wrote? It’s frustrating. I don't feel together yet. Negative things come in my mind and it's hard for me to remember sometimes."

Womack, who beat colon cancer in May, released his most-recent album 'The Bravest Man In The Universe' in 2012, which was co-produced by Blur’s Damon Albarn and XL Recordings co-founder Richard Russell.

He added: “The most embarrassing thing is I’ll be ready to announce Damon and can’t remember his last name.”

This could be in reference to his appearance at an awards ceremony in September when he called Albarn 'Damon Osbourne' in his acceptance speech.

Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, following a career spanning more than 50 years. As mentioned, he released his first single in 1954 under the name Curtis Womack And The Womack Brothers. They later became The Valentinos.

The song, 'Buffalo Bill', was issued on the Pennant label, and recorded when Bobby Womack was just 10 years old. The band were discovered by soul pioneer Sam Cooke, who promised to help with their career the best he could. He eventually signed the band to his SAR label, and his decision the Womacks should switch to pop music from traditional gospel prompted the Womacks' father to demand his sons leave the house.

Sam Cooke's death in 1964 rocked the band, and they split, with Bobby opting to become a session guitarist. He did release solo material, however, most notably 'Across 110th Street', the theme song of the 1972 blaxploitation film of the same name.

More recently, Womack provided guest vocals on 'Stylo' from Gorillaz third album Plastic Beach, and announced last year that he's already working on a follow-up to 'The Bravest Man In The Universe', entitled 'The Best Is Yet To Come'.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and worsens as it progresses, eventually leading to death. It was first described in 1906, and is prevalent in those over 65. By 2050, scientists believe around 1 in 85 people will suffer from the disease.

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