Veteran comedian Ronnie Corbett did not want his friends to see him after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), fellow comic Jimmy Tarbuck has revealed following his death.
The 85-year-old, who made his name working alongside Ronnie Barker, died aged 85 on 31 April.
Following his death, his wife Anne Hart, revealed that he was diagnosed with MND in May 2015, having felt unwell for several months.
Asked if he knew he had motor neurone disease, Tarbuck said: “Yes I did know he wasn't very well, and I knew exactly what he had.
“And he didn't want to see you. He said 'I don't want to see you like this', but I'd speak to him on the phone. And when you did anything with him or for him, you always got a letter from him, that's how correct he was. But yes I did know, unfortunately, that he wasn't very well.”
What is MND?
It is a progressive disease which causes nerves in the brain and spinal chord to deteriorate.
Over time, muscles are no longer able to receive signals from the brain, and become weak and waste away.
A third of people die within a year of being diagnosed, and more than a half within a two years, according to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Around 5,000 adults in the UK will have MND at any one time.
How does it affect a person’s life?
Motor neurones enable a person to control their actions, including walking, speaking, swallowing, gripping and breathing.
As the disease develops, MND can make it impossible for a person to move and function.
“MND can leave people lockedin a failing body, unable to move, talk, swallow and eventually breathe,” says the Motor Neurone Disease Association website.
A patient's speech can become slurred, and they will struggle to hold objects and therefore feed themselves.
The condition is generally first noticed on one side of the body, before spreading gradually.
However, the distressing condition does not usually cause physical pain, and does not affect the senses.
MND can also impact a person’s mind with 35 per cent of patients experiencing mild cognitive issues with planning and decision making.
What causes it?
It is unclear why some people develop this rare disease.
Around 5 per cent of cases are hereditary, caused by faulty genes according to the NHS.
How is it treated?
There is not yet a cure for MND, but doctors can help a person feel more comfortable as a person becomes weaker.
For example, a breathing mask to help with weakness, while a feeding tube make sure the patient has enough nutrients.