Wendy Williams diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, frontotemporal dementia

Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, according to a press release from the former talk show host and her medical team.

Williams, 59, who hosted her eponymous talk show “The Wendy Williams” show for more than a decade, has been open in the past about her prolonged health struggles, which included Graves’ disease and a thyroid condition.

She was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia in 2023 and those diagnoses have “enabled Wendy to receive the medical care she requires,” according to the press release. Primary progressive aphasia is a form of frontotemporal dementia.

“The decision to share this news was difficult and made after careful consideration, not only to advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy, but to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances,” the press release also noted.

“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself,” the press release continued. “Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”

PHOTO: In this Dec. 10, 2019 file photo Wendy Williams attends the 2019 NYWIFT Muse Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.

In this Dec. 10, 2019 file photo Wendy Williams attends the 2019 NYWIFT Muse Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.

Lars Niki/Getty Images, FILE

Primary progressive aphasia is “a neurological syndrome in which language capabilities become slowly and progressively impaired,” according to the National Aphasia Association.

The national Aphasia Association notes that, unlike other forms of aphasia, primary progressive aphasia does not result from a stroke or brain injury and instead is caused by the “deterioration of brain tissue important for speech and language.”

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes “the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though dementia mostly affects older adults, the CDC notes that it is “not a part of normal aging” and the organization projects that there will be as many as 14 million people with dementia by 2060.

Frontotemporal dementia is caused by degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain, according to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. It is the most common form of dementia for people under the age of 60 and there is currently no known cure.

Williams’ niece, Alex Finnie, recently opened up to “Good Morning America” about the upcoming Lifetime documentary “Where Is Wendy Williams?” which premieres Feb. 24 and was executive produced by Williams herself.

Finnie told “GMA” she asked her aunt why she wanted to do the documentary, which would touch on her health struggles, and if it was the right time.

“And she said, ‘Now is the perfect time because I wanna take ownership of my story,'” Finnie recalled.

According to Lifetime, “Where Is Wendy Williams?” will provide a “raw, honest and unfiltered reality” of Williams’ life in recent years and tell “Wendy’s journey to resurrect her career, and what filmmakers discovered along the way.”

First appeared on abcnews.go.com

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