Steve Lawrence, the singer and performer who's best known as half of the musical duo Steve and Eydie, has Alzheimer's. Lawrence, who was married to Eydie Gorme for more than 55 years until her death in 2013, announced the diagnosis in a letter released through his spokesperson Tuesday, People reports. He said that rumors are going around, and he wanted to "tell my own truth," which is that the disease is in its early stages and he's on medication "under the supervision of some of the finest doctors in the field," who've managed to slow the disease's progress. "What I feel is gratitude, love, and hope—nothing more and nothing less, and I hope you can find the same." Lawrence, 83, got his big break in 1953 with a spot on the Tonight Show, per People, which takes a look back at his career here.
That's where he first sang with Gorme, and over the next few years, they built a following with their appearances at nightclubs and on other stages singing the popular hits of the day. They briefly had their own TV show, which was canceled when Lawrence was drafted into the Army, where he became the official vocal soloist for the Army Band "Pershing's Own." He and Gorme continued their act after he was discharged, and both had solo careers as well; Lawrence also appeared on TV shows and in films, including The Blues Brothers and its sequel. He and Gorme won an Emmy for their TV special in 1979. "I have lived and am living a wonderful, joyous life filled with love, support, and amazing moments," Lawrence said in his letter. "With my beloved Eydie, I had one of the great loves of all time." (Ted Turner recently revealed he has Lewy body dementia.)