Rev. Jesse Jackson, long a towering figure of American culture, has revealed he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015. The 76-year-old said he could no longer ignore the symptoms and thanked family, friends and supporters and asked for prayer.
Emanuel praised Jackson in a statement issued Friday, the same day Jackson disclosed that he has been seeking treatment for the chronic neurological disorder for two years.
"Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it". "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".
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Parkinson's disease will never break the Rev. Jesse Jackson's "spiritual commitment to justice". Noah Lewis Robinson Sr. died in 1997 at age 88 after suffering a heart attack.
Jackson has been an activist in the United States for decades, often thought of as a protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King and leader of the civil rights movement. Jackson has remained active in his work and travels in recent years, including hosting a symposium in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. Jackson also twice campaigned for the presidential nomination of the Democratic party and served in the 90s as the shadow senator for the District of Columbia. He's often seen at protests nationwide and has continued regular forums at Rainbow/PUSH's headquarters.
He said that he is also working on a memoir.
"I will continue to try to instil hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world", he wrote. "I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out", the 76-year-old said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton calls Jackson a mentor and says in a video released on Twitter that he had spent the last few days with him in New York City.