Terry Jones, a founding member of the groundbreaking comedy troupe Monty Python, has been diagnosed with dementia. The Associated Press reports that he has primary progressive aphasia – a variation of frontotemporal dementia – that slowly impairs one’s ability to speak. The 74-year-old subsequently can no longer give interviews.
Jones is set to receive an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Welsh branch, recognizing his contributions to film and TV on October 2nd. (Jones was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales in 1942.) “Terry is proud and honored to be recognized in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations,” a spokesperson said in a statement that reported the news.
The members of Monty Python came together in 1969, the same year their pioneering sketch-comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus debuted on the BBC. They made 45 episodes over four seasons.
Jones either directed or co-directed the troupe’s hit films, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983). Most recently, he directed and co-wrote Absolutely Anything, a sci-fi comedy about aliens who empower a human with the power to do anything he wishes; Python troupe members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin, as well as Jones, all provided voices for characters in the film.
The members of Monty Python reunited in 2014 for a run of performances in the U.K. that they dubbed, “Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five To Go” – a wry reference to the 1989 death of cofounder Graham Chapman. They broadcast one of the shows live into movie theaters around the world and later released it on DVD and Blu-ray as well as digitally.