Kris Kristofferson Opens Up About Heartbreaking Struggle With Memory Loss

Ash Newell via

A legendary country artist in his own right, Kris Kristofferson also serves as the force behind the pen that wrote hit songs for other famous artists such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. But there eventually came a time in the 79-year-old country icon’s career when he picked up a pen to write a song and couldn’t finish. 

Rolling Stone reports that several years ago, Kristofferson and his loved ones started to notice that his memory wasn’t what it used to be. Doctors originally believed it was signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, caused by head injuries Kristofferson sustained when he played sports as a teen and young adult.

Kristofferson started taking medicine for Alzheimer’s, but his memory continued to worsen. He’d often forget what he was doing in a short amount of time, making songwriting a major struggle. One song Kristofferson actually wrote about his memory loss went unfinished by him, and was later picked up and completed by his daughter.

During an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal in October 2015, Kristofferson expressed his astonishment over the fact that he was still able to keep performing:

“My brain is so destroyed. To me it’s amazing I can still get up and go to the show. The songs are the last thing to go, I guess. But I can remember all the songs.”  

After years of struggling, Kristofferson’s doctors had a thought. They decided to test him for Lyme Disease, and the test came back positive. Finally, Kristofferson had some answers as to the true cause of his memory loss.

Kristofferson started treatment for lyme disease, and after three weeks his family noted his memory had improved dramatically. With his 80th birthday approaching later this month, Kristofferson is taking the time to enjoy his life’s work, and possibly some new material as well.

I may have some more creative work in me,” he said. “But if I don’t, it’s not going to hurt me.

It breaks our hearts to hear about Kristofferson’s struggle with memory loss, but we’re glad to hear he’s doing much better now. We’ll continue to pray for his further recovery.

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