Foreigner’s Mick Jones reveals battle with Parkinson’s disease

Founding Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones has revealed that he has been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past several years. The legendary rocker disclosed his health status in an open letter to fans.

Jones is the lone original member still left in Foreigner, who are among the nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. In recent years, he’s rarely performed with the band, and has now disclosed that it’s his struggle with Parkinson’s disease that has kept him off the stage.

On Foreigner’s social media pages, Jones wrote the following:

“Fans will have become very aware that for some time now, I have not been performing onstage with the band. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I want everyone to know that I am doing alright. However, I’ve always liked to be at my best when performing onstage, and sadly, at present, I find that a bit difficult. I am still very much involved in the background with Foreigner and remain a presence. Parkinson’s is a daily struggle; the important thing is to persevere and remind myself of the wonderful career I’ve had in music. I thank all the fans who have supported Foreigner throughout the years and continue to attend our concerts — I want you to know I appreciate your support; it always means so very much to me, but especially so at this point in my life. -Mick Jones”

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Jones, who turned 79 years old in December, formed Foreigner in 1976 and has remained the only constant member of the band since then. He’s co-written most of their biggest hits, including “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” and “I Want to Know What Love Is,” among others.

On recent Foreigner tours, Jones would come out for a few songs each night, if at all. For the past 13 years or so, Bruce Watson has primarily been playing lead guitar in the band.

This year, Foreigner are set to embark on a co-headlining North American tour with Styx. The summer outing kicks off June 11th in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and runs through an August 28th show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Foreigner also have a number of their own spring dates leading up the summer run. Tickets to their upcoming shows are available here.

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Despite taking a step back from performing, Jones remains a significant member of Foreigner, making final business decisions and writing music for a potential long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Can’t Slow Down.

Last year, bassist Jeff Pilson noted to Billboard that Jones was working on new material with songwriter Marti Frederiksen. “There’s a whole bunch of stuff in different stages of completion,” he said. “We’ve got stuff going back a long time, so I think that might be something that’s going to happen.”

Following Foreigner’s recent Rock Hall nomination, renowned producer/songwriter Mark Ronson put together a “Vote Foreigner” campaign video featuring Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Slash, Chad Smith, and Josh Homme. See that clip following Mick Jones’ open letter to fans below.

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