Manchester United legend Denis Law has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia.
The 81-year-old, who lives in Bowdon, issued a statement announcing he had a combination of Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia, and admitted the “road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever changing”.
Known simply as The King at Old Trafford on account of his goalscoring feats – he netted 237 times in 404 appearances for United – Law is one of the club’s Holy Trinity alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and George Best.
It was confirmed only last November that Charlton was himself suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Law is now the sixth member of United’s European Cup-winning squad of 1968 to be diagnosed with the degenerative condition.
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.
“In the height of the pandemic I said I hoped that if one positive was to come out of it, it would be that it would make people kinder to each other, so that’s what I am hoping for now.”
Law also had spells at Manchester City, famously scoring a back-heeled winner for City at Old Trafford in April 1974 to relegate United.
Law added: “I don’t want people to be saddened if I forget places, people or dates because you need to remember I enjoyed all those memories and I am lucky to have experienced what I have in my life… a loving and supportive family, a great career doing what I loved and getting paid to do it and lifelong friends.”
Law, who also scored 30 goals in 55 games for Scotland, added: “I have good days and bad days and aim to take each day as it comes adjusting my lifestyle accordingly.
“I hung up my football boots a long time ago and now it’s time to put my signing days behind me too, so apologies to anyone who has sent me anything but I am just not able.”
Law, who was in the crowd for United’s 5-1 win over Leeds last Saturday, said: “I am trying to be positive and determined to continue watching my club, Manchester United at Old Trafford, hopefully this will be a season of success and I am excited by the new signings that Ole and the club have made.
“Also where possible I would like to continue my involvement with the ‘Denis Law Legacy Trust’, the work the staff and volunteers do in the community is amazing and it makes a real difference.
“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.”
Denis’s daughter, Di, is doing the ‘Thames Bridges Trek’ on September 11 to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Anyone wishing to donate can go to this link.