Neil Diamond Gives Surprise Performance After Sad Diagnosis

Beloved crooner Neil Diamond has been entertaining audiences since the '60s with his boisterous ballads and sing-along worthy tunes. Case in point? If you've ever been to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, then you've surely belted out Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" during the 8th inning. However, in January 2018, Diamond announced that he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a "progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement," according to the Mayo Clinic

"I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years," Diamond in a statement on his website. "My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."

Although the disease meant that the star could no longer handle touring, the singer-songwriter noted that he wouldn't stop writing and recording music, as well as delivering the occasional performance. And Diamond delivered on his promise when he recently thrilled fans by taking the stage.

Neil Diamond thrilled fans with his classic songs

Staying true to his word, Neil Diamond is still performing two years after he revealed that he has Parkinson's disease. On March 7, 2020, the singer showed up at the 24th annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. "The rock and pop legend was in top form," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The outlet also noted that Diamond delivered a "stunning" seven-song set that included "Cracklin' Rosie," "Hello Again," "Forever in Blue Jeans," Love on the Rocks," "I Am ... I Said," "September Morn," and, of course, "Sweet Caroline."

The audience of 1,500 VIP attendees were reportedly so "thrilled" by what they saw that the "dignitaries [were] up, dancing, shouting, and in many cases crying at Diamond's performance." One person apparently claimed that it was "the greatest night of [their] life," while another stated that the singer was simply "crushing it!" This was surely a boost for Diamond, who has been working hard for the chance to take the stage again.

Neil Diamond wants to 'keep the music coming'

While Neil Diamond has come to terms with the fact that he's no longer able to tour, that isn't stopping him from continuing to embrace the other aspects of his music career that he seems to love so much. In August 2018, just a few months after revealing that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, the singer opened up during an interview with The Associated Press about how he was working hard to get to a point where he'd be able to perform again.

"Well, I'm doing pretty well," Diamond said at the time. "I'm active. I take my meds. I do my workouts. I'm in pretty good shape. I'm feeling good. I want to stay productive. I still have my voice. I just can't do the traveling that I once did, but I have my wife there supporting me (and) friends."

"It does have its challenges, but I'm feeling good and I feel very positive about [it]. I'm feeling better every day," the singer continued. "Just dealing with it as best I can, and just keep the music coming." While Diamond's journey likely hasn't been easy, he's not alone when it comes to his struggle. There are a number of other famous figures who have also spoken out about dealing with Parkinson's disease.

Other stars have revealed their struggles with Parkinson's disease

Sadly, plenty of stars have opened up about the fact that they're dealing with life-altering and life-threatening diseases, including Michael J. Fox, Alan Alda, and most recently, Ozzy Osbourne, who have all revealed that they have Parkinson's disease. "I'm no good with secrets," the former Black Sabbath singer said during a January 2020 interview with Good Morning America after announcing that he had been given his diagnosis almost a year earlier. "I cannot walk around with it anymore 'cause it's like I'm running out of excuses, you know?"

Alda, famous for his role on M*A*S*H during the '70s and '80s, talked to CBS This Morning in July 2018 about why he was opening up about his health struggle. "I thought, 'It's probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view,'" Alda said after admitting that he was starting to show small signs of the disease, such as a thumb twitch. However, the actor who was still feeling well and tackling projects added, "But that's not where I am."

As for actor Michael J. Fox, talking to The New York Times Magazine in 2019 he said, "I'd developed a relationship with Parkinson's, where I gave the disease its room to do what it needed to do and it left me areas I could still flourish in." 

Here's hoping that all of these celebrities, including Neil Diamond, continue to flourish in spite of the disease.