Throughout my life - from hippie folk festival days (remember the banana boots?) to my own mid-sixties - the Big Yin has been my favourite comedian, and even getting a mention in my CV for a while! In addition, his World Tour of Scotland was an outstanding series, particularly as I lived in the Highlands for three years.
I saw him live many times, from Inverness to Hammersmith the last being in London about 5 years ago.On that occasion he had definitely lost his sparkle, quick wit and sharp observation. His ability to see the funny side of everything around him seemed to have deserted him. All that remained (on that particular occasion - I can't speak for other gigs) was a grumbling old man having a pop at anyone who'd irritated him over recent days and weeks, stuck-up rich folk (like him?) in posh hotels or assorted government policies which were adversely affecting his income. Some left the theatre early; some booed. I don't expect to see him live any more I'm afraid.
However, when I read that the Big Yin had PD everything fell into place. The changes in Billy, and the rate of those changes, can be seen as classic PD. As in all such cases it seems so obvious in retrospect.
A few years back his act included a mickey-take of old people.
At one point he did an impression of an old person leaning across the table with tongue fully outstretched in a desperate attempt to retain the meal being spoon-fed to him. He told the audience that he'd instructed his grown up daughters that if HE ever got to such a level of incapacity his time would have come.
Another of his routines joked about how great it was for old folk going dancing to the local disco. After all, they all wear retaining garments under their outer clothes to prevent urine or excrement from escaping, don't they? So they can just slop about with ever-increasing volumes of pee and poo attached to them in nappies, catheter bags or whatever, without a care in the world.
I myself was dx 13 years ago, and most of those symptoms are now with me fairly regularly: immobiity, incontinence, feeding troubles, etc.
Billy was always my hero, and his wealth will surely make his life more comfortable. But I think he's in for a shock or two.