Walter Gretzky diagnosed with Parkinson's

Walter Gretzky signs autographs in Caledon, Ont., at the Gretzky centre last Decemenber. (QMI...

Walter Gretzky signs autographs in Caledon, Ont., at the Gretzky centre last Decemenber. (QMI Agency)

Susan Gamble, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:29 PM ET

BRANTFORD, ONT. - Walter Gretzky, the world's most famous hockey dad, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

The diagnosis comes about two years after a tremor in Gretzky's left hand prompted a visit to his doctor.

Gretzky, 73, who is famous for helping his son Wayne become a hockey legend, is taking the news in stride.

"It doesn't get in the way," he said in an interview at his home Wednesday. "I do everything with my right hand anyway."

He stretched out his arms to show that his right hand is rock solid, while his left trembles ever so slightly, especially in the thumb and ring finger.

It's his right hand that he works with, gestures with and — most important to his fans — uses to sign thousands of autographs each year.

"If it was my right hand, I'd be in trouble! I'd have to get a stamp!" he said, then chuckled at the idea.

His son Wayne, a keynote speaker Tuesday at a conference in Vancouver, choked up as he announced that he had just learned of his dad's official diagnosis.

“That hits you right in the gut,” Wayne told the crowd. “Something like that happens, there's really no cure or answer. No amount of money can solve that kind of problem.”

His dad has been receiving electro-myopulse therapy in London, Ont. After several treatments, the therapy seems to be having a positive effect.

Parkinson's disease kills dopamine-generating cells in the brain, which causes shaking and, later, difficulty with walking as well as cognitive problems.


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