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Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson's disease: 'I will need your prayers'

FILE - The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. in Detroit. (WEYI/WSMH)

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease two years ago, the civil rights leader announced Friday.

In a statement, the 76-year-old said he and his family began to notice three years ago that his health was deteriorating.

"I find it increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks, and getting around is more of a challenge," he said.

Jackson says he initially resisted seeing a doctor, so as not to interrupt his work. He added that Parkinson's "bested my father."

According to a statement from Northwestern Medicine, Jackson was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder in 2015.

The founder of the progressive Rainbow PUSH Coalition notes that he is working on a memoir, "so I can share with others the lessons I have learned in my life of public service. I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out."

Jackson vows to continue his work "to instill hope in the hopeless" and is determined to slow the disease's progression: "I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge. As we continue in the struggle for human rights, remember that God will see us through, even in our midnight moments."

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