Sir Billy Connolly looks healthy and happy during whirlwind around-the-world trip… after claiming Parkinson’s Disease has made him feel ‘near the end’
Sir Billy Connolly was pictured looking happy and healthy on Thursday, during his current trip around the world – despite saying recently that he was ‘near the end’ as he fights Parkinson’s Disease.
The comedian, 76, met up with Scottish former rugby union player Doddie Weir in Hong Kong ahead of his appearance at New York’s tartan day celebrations this weekend.
And Sir Billy was looking dapper as he chatted with MND sufferer Doddie at the fundraising dinner in Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt hotel.
Great spirits: Sir Billy Connolly was pictured looking happy and healthy on Thursday, during his current trip around the world – despite saying recently that he was ‘near the end’ as he fights Parkinson’s Disease
In a photo posted by ex Scottish scrum half Andy Nichol on Twitter, Sir Billy looked dapper in his black suit and white shirt for the occasion while Doddie opted for his now famous tartan suit.
One of the dinner guests commented: ‘Billy was in great spirits and very happy to be there. He and Doddie has a great chat and Billy entertained guests with his answers during the Q&A.’
Players past and present joined the Big Yin and Humungous one, as revellers endearingly referred to them.
Amongst those at the bash were Scott Hastings, Andy Goode, Brian O Driscoll and Gregor Townsend.
One of the dinner guests commented: ‘Billy was in great spirits and very happy to be there. He and Doddie has a great chat and Billy entertained guests with his answers during the Q&A’
Scottish artist Gerard Burns had painted a portrait of Doddie in the suit which raised almost £100,000 at the event.
The dinner, attended by around 500 guests, was organised by the Scottish business community based in Hong Kong as a precursor to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens on April 5-7. More than £300,000 was raised in total by the event.
The new pictures will come as a surprise to many fans who thought that Billy’s health was ailing.
The 76 year old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012 and has been pictured looking frailer and more subdued than the larger than life character we have come to expect.
Billy who also had to have his prostate removed following a cancer diagnosis several years ago and has joked in the past about his shaky hand, over which he has little control, admitted in a BBC documentary in January that his diagnosis with the degenerative brain condition meant he was now “at the wrong end of the telescope of life”.
Billy said at the time: “My life is slipping away and I can feel it and I should. I’m 75 and I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning.
“But it doesn’t frighten me – it’s an adventure and it’s quite interesting to see myself slipping away, as bits slip off and leave me, talents leave and attributes leave.
“It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill doing the next episode in the spirit world.”
Sir Michael Parkinson also said in 2018 that Billy had trouble recognising him, a claim that Sir Billy has since dismissed.
Sir Michael, 83, said at the time: “His wonderful brain has dulled. I saw him recently – he’s now living in America – and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an award ceremony […] We had an awkward dinner together, because I wasn’t quite sure if he knew who I was or not.”
It certainly seems that Billy is not ready to give into the debilitating illness – as he jetsets round the world for a busy year of public engagements.
Bouncing back: Sir Billy said recently that he was ‘near the end’ as he fights Parkinson’s Disease