Sad news for Monty Python fans. Actor and director Terry Jones, best known as one of the members of the madcap British comedy group, is suffering from dementia.
A representative for Jones, 74, confirmed the news to The British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
"Terry has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia. This illness affects his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews,” the spokesperson told BAFTA.
Jones wrote for and performed in Monty Python’s Flying Circus television episodes from 1969 until 1974.
When the group moved onto the big screen, Jones co-directed the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail;” and directed “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” in 1979 and “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life” in 1981. He also starred in all three movies.
The surviving members of Monty Python reunited last year on TODAY.
Jones has continued to be in demand and was still writing and directing last year.
Primary progressive aphasia is caused by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, and it can ultimately leave the patient with a nearly total inability to speak, according to The National Aphasia Association.
“Eventually, almost all patients become mute and unable to understand spoken or written language, even if their behavior seems otherwise normal,” it notes.
Monty Python member Eric Idle responded Friday to the outpouring of affection for Jones.
BAFTA will present a Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television to Jones next month.
His representative said Jones is proud and honored to be recognized in this way and “is looking forward to the celebrations."