Ted Turner, the media mogul and cable news trailblazer, revealed in an interview set to air this weekend that he’s coping with a brain disease known as Lewy body dementia.
Turner, 79, opened up to “CBS SundayMorning” at his 113,000-acre ranch near Bozeman, Mont., saying while his disease isn’t fatal like Alzheimer’s, it leaves him tired, exhausted and, most of all, forgetful.
“It’s a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer’s. It’s similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer’s is fatal,” Turner told CBS. “Thank goodness I don’t have that. But, I also have got, let’s – the one that’s – I can’t remember the name of it.”
Turner continues after a pause: “Dementia. I can’t remember what my disease is.”
Lewy body dementia is a type of progressive dementia that leads to a decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function, due to abnormal microscopic deposits that cause brain cell damage over time, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Mayo Clinic says that symptoms can include visual hallucinations, changes in alertness and attention, and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors. Risk factors include being over 60, male, and having a family member with the disease, according to the clinic.
The late comic Robin Williams suffered from the disease.
Turner told CBS he was misdiagnosed with manic depression before learning the brain disorder was causing his “euphoric highs and dark lows.”
Turner, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $2.2 billion, was married to actress Jane Fonda for 10 years, until their divorce in 2001, according to People.
The media mogul changed the landscape of television news with the creation of the 24-hour Cable News Network (CNN) in 1980. He told CBS that while he doesn’t watch much news anymore, he occasionally tunes in to the network he founded.
“I think they’re stickin’ with politics a little too much,” Turner told CBS. “They’d do better to have – a more balanced – agenda. But that’s, you know, just one person’s opinion.”