And now for something completely heartbreaking. Days after it was announced that Monty Python member Terry Jones has been diagnosed with a form of dementia that hinders his ability to understand language (primary progressive aphasia), his fellow Pythoner, Michael Palin, has penned a moving message about him on Facebook. “Terry J has been my close friend and workmate for over fifty years,” Palin wrote. “The progress of his dementia has been painful to watch and the news announced yesterday that he has a type of aphasia which is gradually depriving him of the ability to speak is about the cruellest thing that could befall someone to whom words, ideas, arguments, jokes and stories were once the stuff of life. Not that Terry is out of circulation.”
Jones’s diagnoses became public knowledge due to Bafta Cymru’s plans to honor the comedian with a lifetime achievement award. (Though Eric Idle said the dementia had been “no secret” to Jones’s friends and family for many years.) “He spends time with his family and only two days ago I met up with him for one of our regular meals at his local pub,” Palin continued. “Howard Johnson, an American friend of Python, was in town and took this picture. Terry doesn’t say very much but he smiles, laughs, recognises and responds, and I’m always pleased to see him. Long may that last.” For many years to come, hopefully.