Glen Campbell in Chicago area for farewell tour

January 24, 2012 3:06:00 PM PST
Time is running out for singer Glen Campbell. He was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Now he is touring the country, saying goodbye to his fans.

Campbell is performing in the Chicago area this week. He spoke Tuesday with ABC7's Karen Jordan.

Alzheimer's is a disease with no cure and afflicts 5 million Americans. Glen Campbell is choosing to deal with his diagnosis in public, performing his hits like "rhinestone Cowboy" and "Witchita Lineman" on one last tour before he retires.

Grammy award-winning singer Campbell and his wife Kim have arrived in Joliet a couple of days ahead of his concerts at the Rialto Theater this Thursday and Friday.

They are dates on the 75-year-old's farewell tour, which Campbell kicked off last fall, shortly after announcing that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"I still don't know what's going on. I just know that I can still do it," Campbell said. "I can sing, I can play. I stutter sometimes. I'm forgetful."

Campbell struggles with short-term memory loss and often gets help from Kim, his wife of 30 years, in answering questions.

But Campbell can recall with vivid detail his days of starting out in the music business in the 1960s, when he was a popular session guitarist recording with Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra.. and The Righteous Brothers.

Kim says Campbell's relapse into drinking and subsequent DUI eight years ago was the result of his frustration over his forgetfulness. It was after that that he was diagnosed.

Kim says the tour has been good for keeping Campbell active and in good spirits..

"It just all comes back to him when he walks on stage, and sees the audience, and the whole environment," Kim said.

Campbell says he appreciates the support of his fans.

"I'm very flattered to get the accolades that have been laid on me through this whole thing," said Campbell.

Campbell's tour is scheduled to wrap up in June but could go longer if he is up to it. He is also currently being filmed for a documentary by the producer of Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic.

Campbell said, no matter what, it is important to have a good sense of humor.