Terry Jones, one of the founding members of Monty Python, has been diagnosed with dementia, the British film academy BAFTA announced.
“Terry has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia,” a representative of Jones said in a statement explaining why the comedy icon couldn’t accept his recently awarded British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television in person.
“This illness affects his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews. Terry is proud and honored to be recognized in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations.”
The comedian, actor, director and writer was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales. His career includes more than 50 writing credits and 17 director credits.
Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the late 1960s. The series was a huge hit in England and grew from a cult to a mania in the United States. Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam and directed Life of Brian, where he also delivered the defining line “’He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy,” and The Meaning of Life.
Jones previously admitted that he struggled to remember his lines. In 2014, the comedian said relied on cue cards when he performed for Monty Python’s run of 10 shows at London’s 02 Arena.
“I couldn’t remember my lines so it’s absolutely true,” Jones said at the time.
Monty Python Live (Mostly) culminated in a massive live broadcast at more than 2,000 cinemas around the world.
“We are deeply sorry to hear about Terry Jones’s diagnosis of dementia and are thinking of Terry and his family during this time,” Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society, said in a statement. “Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia, and we do everything we can to keep people with dementia connected to their lives and the people who matter most by offering practical support, advice and information.”