In a video shared on Twitter on Sunday (23 April) evening, the US comedian announced that he’d been having a “rocky time” after being diagnosed with the condition two years ago.
“I just wrapped a couple of weeks ago season 12 of Curb Your Enthusiasm and it was just an amazing season and I’m so grateful to be a part of that show,” Lewis, 75, explained.
“But you know the last three and a half years, I’ve had sort of a rocky time and people said, ‘I haven’t heard from you, are you still touring?’”
Lewis explained that he’d intended to retire from performing live shortly before his diagnosis – something he was feeling positive about – “and then out of the blue, the s*** hit the fan”.
After having four major surgeries “back to back to back to back”, including a hip replacement, Lewis said that he then two years ago “started walking a little stiffly” and was “shuffling” his feet.
“I went to a neurologist and they gave me a brain scan and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “That was about two years ago, but luckily I got it late in life and they say you progress very slowly, if at all, and I’m on the right meds, so I’m cool.”
Parkinson’s is a condition in which parts of the brain gradually become progressively damaged over the years. The three most common symptoms are involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.
Lewis ended the video with a positive message, saying that while he was stopping stand-up, he would still be writing and acting and was loving his life.
Star Wars actor Mark Hamill commented: “Wishing you all the best & thanking you for a lifetime of laughs.”
Born in New York, Lewis rose to fame on the stand-up circuit in the Seventies and Eighties, going on to star opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the ABC sitcom Anything But Love from 1989 to 1992.
He appears in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s comedy series, as a fictionalised version of himself.