Tony Christie calls music 'therapy' amid dementia diagnosis and vows to keep working

The star announced his diagnosis earlier this month

WATCH: Tony Christie vows to keep working despite dementia diagnosis

Singer Tony Christie has opened up on his dementia diagnosis and has vowed to keep performing as it's his "therapy".

The 79-year-old star, best known for hit single (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, announced on 13 January he had been diagnosed with the degenerative brain condition, which affects memory and mobility.

Read more: Most Dementia Sufferers Put Off GP Visit Fearing ‘Their Life Will Be Over’

But appearing on BBC Breakfast today, Christie said he has no intention of slowing down, announcing a concert in April to mark his 80th birthday.

He also credits his love of music as a form of therapy to help him remember things, learning 'not to panic' about the diagnosis and instead focusing on keeping busy.

Tony Christie on BBC Breakfast (BBC)
Tony Christie on BBC Breakfast (BBC)

"I'm starting my big, big, big tour this year, so I'm going to be very, very busy, but I'm looking forward to it," he said. "Music actually, I found out, is part of a cure for dementia. So every time I go on stage and work, it's helping me."

With impending performances, Christie added there will be aids on stage should he start to struggle with his back catalogue, which dates back to 1967.

Read more: Drinking wine every day could help prevent Alzheimer's, experts say

"I've got a TV screen on onstage as a remembrance. I don't always look at it, [it's] in case I suddenly think 'what's the words?' but most of the time it's there, it's like insurance," he explained.

"But I manage to get through my shows just great."

Hamburg, Germany. 27th Oct, 2022. Tony Christie, English musician, singer and actor, comes to the gala premiere on the occasion of the new season of vaudeville at the Hansa Theater. Credit: Georg Wendt/dpa/Alamy Live News
Tony Christie (Georg Wendt/dpa/Alamy Live News)

Christie ultimately said his biggest motivation was just just keep calm and carry on, and hopes his story will prove to be an inspiration to others who may have the same diagnosis.

"I've just been to specialists and they gave me tablets and then you know, they've gradually worked and that the advice to people who are worried about it is to go and see a specialist and get on tablets," he said, feeling positive advancements in medical care could prove life-changing in the future.

Read more: Barbara Windsor's husband blasts Boris Johnson for 'breaking' his dementia help vow

"I've got a feeling that within a few years, there will be tablets that will cure it. So I just carry on working."

"I looked at it this way. Like 'well, if you start worrying about it, you're finished'," Christie concluded. "Ignore it, carry on and do what you do, and that's what I advise anybody else who's got it."

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays from 6am on BBC One.

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