Manchester United legend Denis Law has revealed that he has been diagnosed with ‘mixed dementia’ and wishes to be open about his health and the condition.
Law, who turned 81 earlier this year, explained that he is already experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, which have caused him distress, but is keen to address the situation while he is still able to.
In a lengthy statement shared by the club, Law said: “I am at the point where I feel I want to be open about my condition. I have been diagnosed with ‘mixed dementia’, which is more than one type of dementia, in my case, this being Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia. This has been an extremely difficult year for everyone and the long periods of isolation have certainly not helped.
“It is an incredibly challenging and problematic disease and I have witnessed many friends go through this. You hope that it won’t happen to you, even make jokes about it whilst ignoring the early signs because you don’t want it to be true. You get angry, frustrated, confused and then worried, worried for your family, as they will be the ones dealing with it.
“However, the time has come to tackle this head on, excuse the pun. I recognise how my brain is deteriorating and how my memory evades me when I don’t want it to and how this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control. I do understand what is happening and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now.
“I know the road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever changing and so ask for understanding and patience as this will not be an easy journey, especially for the people who love you the most.”
Law said that doesn’t want people to be ‘saddened if I forget places, people or dates because you need to remember I enjoyed all those memories’, adding that he considers himself lucky to have experienced a ‘loving and supportive family, a great career doing what I loved and getting paid to do it, and lifelong friends’.
He continued: “I have good days and bad days and aim to take each day as it comes adjusting my lifestyle accordingly,” going on to explain that he will no longer be able to do signings of shirts and memorabilia as he previously done over the years.
Law said he is ‘trying to be positive’ and wishes to continue watching United games at Trafford, as well trying to continue his involvement with the ‘Denis Law Legacy Trust’.
Law’s daughter, Di, is completing ‘The Thames Bridges Trek’ challenge on 11 September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and a link is included in his statement so fans can donate.
Born in Aberdeen, Law started his senior football career with Huddersfield at the age of 16, moving on to Manchester City for a British record fee of £55,000 in 1960. The following year he joined Torino for £110,000, a record fee involving a British player, but returned to England in 1962 to join Manchester United for another record fee, this time £115,000.
Law immediately helped United win their first trophy since the 1958 Munich air disaster in the shape of the FA Cup in 1963 and scored at least 24 goals in all competitions in six of his first seven seasons at Old Trafford. His tally of 46 goals in 42 appearances in the 1963/64 campaign remains a club record for goals in a single season and helped the Scot win the Ballon d’Or.
His on-field relationship with Bobby Charlton and George Best is the stuff of legend and the trio are immortalised in statue form outside the front of Old Trafford.