(RNN) – Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson announced on Friday that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Jackson posted a full statement on his Twitter account.
“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he wrote in the statement.
The neurological disorder has no cure and causes tremors, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
"My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago," Jackson wrote in a statement. "After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson's disease, a disease that bested my father," he said in the statement.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT to my friends and supporters on my health and the future. pic.twitter.com/JkuDNpxkix— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) November 17, 2017
Jackson, 76, worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was with King when he was killed in Memphis in 1968.
A reverend, Jackson worked in outreach for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In 1971, Jackson created People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) to fight employment discrimination of black people. He founded the National Rainbow Coalition 13 years later with a mission that expanded to fight for political and social inclusion of multicultural communities. The organizations merged in 1996 and became the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, dedicated to promoting global peace and justice.
In 1984, Jackson ran for president and won 18 percent of the Democratic vote during the primary season. He also ran again in 1998 when he gave his famous "Keep Hope Alive" speech.
He also negotiated the release of American hostages, prisoners of war and foreign political prisoners in the 1980s and 1990s.
President Bill Clinton awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 2000, the highest honor that is given to civilians.
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