On Friday, it was announced that Jones is suffering from primary progressive aphasia, a variation of frontotemporal dementia that slowly impairs one’s ability to speak.
“The progress of his dementia has been painful to watch and the news announced yesterday that he has a type of aphasia which is gradually depriving him of the ability to speak is about the cruelest thing that could befall someone to whom words, ideas, arguments, jokes and stories were once the stuff of life,” Palin wrote on Facebook alongside a photo he recently took with Jones.
Jones, a longtime Python member, directed three of the British comedy troupe’s films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
Despite the dementia diagnosis, Jones will still be in attendance on October 2nd to receive an award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Welsh branch, recognizing his contributions to film and TV. “Terry is proud and honored to be recognized in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations,” a spokesperson said.
Palin added that the diagnosis isn’t keeping Jones down. “Not that Terry is out of circulation. He spends time with his family and only two days ago I met up with him for one of our regular meals at his local pub,” Palin wrote. “Terry doesn’t say very much but he smiles, laughs, recognizes and responds, and I’m always pleased to see him. Long may that last.”
Monty Python’s Eric Idle also tweeted following the flood of well-wishers, “Thank you for all your kind responses about Terry J. Of course this has been no secret to us for some years but he did manage to make O2!”