Manchester United great Denis Law CBE has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, the 81-year-old said in a statement on Thursday.
The Aberdeen-born striker began his football career at Second Division side Huddersfield in 1956. He then signed for Manchester City for a British record-fee of £55,000, a year later Law moved to Torino before heading to Old Trafford in 1962. Law spent 11 years at Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances. His goals tally places him third in the club’s history, behind Wayne Rooney and Sir Bobby Charlton. He was nicknamed ‘The King’ and ‘The Lawman‘ by his supporters, Law left United in 1973 to return to Man City, where he played for a season before retiring.Embed from Getty Images
Ballon D’Or winner Law, who has been diagnosed with dementia, said he was “determined to continue watching my club, Manchester United at Old Trafford”.
“Hopefully this will be a season of success and I’m excited by the new signings that Ole and the club have made”, he added.
The Scottish-born striker who was appointed CBE in 2016 for his services to football and other various charities also said he hopes to continue his involvement in Denis Law Legacy Trust.
“I am at the point where I feel I want to be open about my condition… I have been diagnosed with ‘mixed dementia’, which is more than one type of dementia, in my case this being Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia”, Law said in a statement on Man United’s website.
“This has been an extremely difficult year for everyone and the long periods of isolation have certainly not helped. It is an incredibly challenging and problematic disease and I have witnessed many friends go through this.
“You hope that it won’t happen to you, even make jokes about it whilst ignoring the early signs because you don’t want it to be true. You get angry, frustrated, confused and then worried. Worried for your family, as they will be the ones dealing with it.
“However the time has come to tackle this head on, excuse the pun. I recognise how my brain is deteriorating and how my memory evades me when I don’t want it to and how this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control.
“I do understand what is happening and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I’m able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now.
“In the height of the pandemic I said I hoped that if one positive was to come out of it, it would be that it would make people kinder to each other, so that’s what I am hoping for now.”
He added: “I don’t want people to be saddened if I forget places, people or dates because you need to remember I enjoyed all those memories and I am lucky to have experienced what I have in my life – a loving and supportive family, a great career doing what I loved and getting paid to do it and lifelong friends.
“I have good days and bad days and aim to take each day as it comes adjusting my lifestyle accordingly.
“I hung up my football boots long time ago and now its time to put my signing days behind me too, so apologies to anyone who has sent me anything but I am just not able.
“I am trying to be positive and determined to continue watching my club, Manchester United at Old Trafford, hopefully this will be a season of success and I am excited by the new signings that Ole and the club have made.”
Law is enshrined in the United Trinity statue outside of Old Trafford alongside Sir Bobby Charlton, who it was confirmed has also been diagnosed with dementia and the late George Best.
Our thoughts are with Denis Law – The King – and his family at this difficult time.
His daughter Di is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society, you can donate here