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Houston Chronicle

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Former radio and talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with dementia and aphasia, as expressed in an announcement to fans.

On Thursday (February 22), it was revealed that media personality Wendy Williams was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, with both afflictions affecting her ability to communicate and her cognition. “The decision to share this news was difficult and made after careful consideration, not only to advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy, but to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances,” a press release issued by her team said.

The diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and aphasia is similar to the same one that veteran TV & film actor Bruce Willis received last year. Williams is also dealing with the health challenges of Graves’ disease and lymphedema.

Despite those issues, the 59-year-old is “still able to do many things for herself,” and is receiving cognitive treatment at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed,” said the press release. “She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”

The news of Williams’ health comes as Lifetime will air the two-part documentary Where Is Wendy Williams? on February 24 & 25. Since stepping back from hosting her television show in 2019, Williams has mostly kept out of the limelight since the show went off the air in 2022, which was the same year that she entered into a guardianship at the urging of her bank believing that she was being taken advantage of. The guardian, who has been identified as Sabrina Morrisey, filed a lawsuit against Lifetime’s parent company, A&E Networks. “The film was signed off on by Wendy, her management, her attorneys, the guardianship,” said Mark Ford, executive producer of the documentary. “They were aware of the filming all the way through. So, we did go by the book and get all the permissions that we needed to get.”

The situation has led to a further cloud of confusion, with family members claiming they’ve been unable to speak to Williams. “All I know is that Wendy and her team walked into the courtroom one way, and they walked out, and the family is completely excluded,” said Wanda Williams, Wendy’s sister in an interview with PEOPLE.