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Rev. Jesse Jackson reveals Parkinson’s diagnosis in emotional letter

Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. AP

CHICAGO — The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he’s been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy.

In a Friday letter to supporters, the 76-year-old says family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago and he could no longer ignore symptoms.

READ MORE: Toronto organization introduces device to help better understand Parkinson’s disease

He says the diagnosis isn’t a sign to stop working but a “signal” to make “lifestyle changes” to slow progression of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.

“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” the letter reads.

The civil rights icon also released a Northwestern Medicine letter saying he was diagnosed in 2015 and has sought outpatient care.

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Reverend Jesse Jackson raises DNC faithful out of their seats with unique Hillary chant – Jul 27, 2016

Jackson runs the Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He’s remained a strong voice in anti-discrimination efforts, including advocating for affordable housing, and been a fixture at protests nationwide.

Jackson declined further comment Friday.

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