Los Angeles August 12, 2002 My Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Fans: My physicians have recently told me I may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimerâ€™s disease. Soâ€¦ I wanted to prepare a few words for you now, because when the time comes, I may not be able to. Iâ€™ve lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. Iâ€™ve found purpose and meaning in your response. For an actor thereâ€™s no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I canâ€™t part with you, which is why I wonâ€™t exclude you from this stage in my life. For now, Iâ€™m not changing anything. Iâ€™ll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, youâ€™ll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway. Iâ€™m neither giving up nor giving in. I believe Iâ€™m still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew, but itâ€™s a fight I must someday call a draw. I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure. Please feel no sympathy for me. I donâ€™t. I just may be a little less accessible to you, despite my wishes. I also want you to know that Iâ€™m grateful beyond measure. My life has been blessed with good fortune. Iâ€™m grateful that I was born in America, that cradle of freedom and opportunity, where a kid from the Michigan Northwoods can work hard and make something of his life. Iâ€™m grateful for the gift of the greatest words ever written, that let me share with you the infinite scope of the human experience. As an actor, Iâ€™m thankful that Iâ€™ve lived not one life, but many. Above all, Iâ€™m proud of my familyâ€¦ my wife Lydia, the queen of my heart, my children, Fraser and Holly, and my beloved grandchildren, Jack, Ridley, and Charlie. Theyâ€™re my biggest fans, my toughest critics and my proudest achievement. Through them, I can touch immortality. Finally, Iâ€™m confident about the future of America. I believe in you. I know that the future of our country, our culture and our children is in good hands. I know you will continue to meet adversity with strength and resilience, as our ancestors did, and come through with flying colors â€“ the ones on Old Glory. William Shakespeare, at the end of his career, wrote his farewell through the words of Prospero, in The Tempest. It ends like this: Be cheerful, sir, Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into the air, into thin air: And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. Thank you, and God bless you, everyone...cordially, Charleton Heston ... Why him?