Rev. Jesse Jackson announces he has Parkinson's disease

CHICAGO, Illinois -- Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson has announced he is battling Parkinson's disease, the illness that took his father's life.

The 76-year-old Jackson said over the last three years, he found it increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks, and getting around became more of a challenge.

"For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor," Jackson said in a news release. "But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced."

Jackson said after a battery of tests, his physicians identified the issue as Parkinson's.

"Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it," he said. "For me, a Parkinson's diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease's progression."

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