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Comedian Billy Connolly treated for cancer, diagnosed with Parkinson's

Cast member Billy Connolly waves at the premiere of "Fido" at the Ryerson theatre during the 31st Toronto International Film Festival in Tor
Cast member Billy Connolly waves at the premiere of "Fido" at the Ryerson theatre during the 31st Toronto International Film Festival in Tor

LONDON (Reuters) - Comedian Billy Connolly has been operated on for prostate cancer and diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson's disease, a press statement posted on the 70-year old star's website said on Monday.

Connolly, famous in Britain for his stand-up comedy shows and internationally for roles in Hollywood films including Disney Pixar's "Brave", underwent minor surgery in America for prostate cancer.

The operation was successful according to the statement but he has been additionally diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, an incurable degenerative illness which causes tremors, forgetfulness and slow movements in sufferers.

"Billy has been assessed as having the initial symptoms of Parkinson's disease, for which he is receiving the appropriate treatment," the statement read.

"Billy has been assured by experts that the findings will in no way inhibit or affect his ability to work."

Around 127,000 people in Britain suffer from Parkinson's disease with only drugs and other treatments available to manage the symptoms of the illness, which can also include memory loss.

In April, Connolly told an audience in Belfast that he repeatedly had gaps in his memory according to Northern Ireland's The Record newspaper.

"This is ... terrifying. I feel like I'm going out of my mind," he told an audience at one of his shows.

Born in Glasgow, Connolly started working life as a welder in the city's shipyards and initially achieved fame on the Scottish folk music scene before concentrating on comedy.

He appeared in the 2012 film "Quartet", directed by Dustin Hoffman, was lead actor in "The Man Who Sued God" and has toured several countries including Australia, New Zealand and Ireland performing to thousands of comedy fans.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

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