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Wendy Williams' dementia diagnosis announced ahead of documentary

Representatives for the gossip host revealed she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and aphasia days before the release of the project.
Wendy Williams' dementia diagnosis announced ahead of documentary
Posted at 8:23 PM, Feb 22, 2024

Just two days before a documentary was set to be released about the health of longtime gossip host and media personality Wendy Williams, her representatives announced that she had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia.

Frontotemporal dementia is described as a "cluster of disorders that results from the degeneration of the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain," according to the Mayo Clinic. 

William's representatives said the 59-year-old talk show star was diagnosed last year after she underwent "a battery of medical tests."

A statement from representatives for the host said, "Over the past few years, questions have been raised at times about Wendy’s ability to process information." 

The statement said, "Many have speculated about Wendy’s condition, particularly when she began to lose words, act erratically at times, and have difficulty understanding financial transactions."

A two-part Lifetime network documentary about Williams is set to release on Saturday titled, "Where Is Wendy Williams?"

After Williams entered a care center in April, filming for the project ended, according to People magazine. 

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Williams made a name for herself in pop gossip and mass media over the years. 

Most recently, she hosted the “The Wendy Williams Show” on Fox for over 10 years. Williams first made a name for herself in radio after graduating from Northeastern University in Boston in 1986. By the 1990s she was an established radio disc jockey in New York City, gaining national notoriety from her show "The Wendy Williams Experience."

Last year representatives for 67-year-old actor Bruce Willis also announced he was diagnosed with aphasia and was stepping away from acting. A statement from Willis' family called it a "cruel disease," and said it is one "that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone."

Symptoms for primary progressive aphasia can differ depending on which part of the brain is affected, and can include trouble understanding spoken or written language and not being able to name objects. 

Poor grammar and written or spoken language can also be a sign, or using grammar incorrectly. 

The condition is thought to be caused by a shrinking of certain areas of the brain, also called lobes. The atrophy usually happens on the left side of the brain where speech and language is responsible. 

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