Billy Connolly has posted a jovial post to tells fans in song he is “not dying, not dead, not slipping away”.
Earlier this week print and television media went into their usual “bring out your dead” frenzy after Connolly said he was “near the end”. The full context of his words were “I’m 75, I’m near the end. I’m a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn’t frighten me, it’s an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.”
Connolly did not mean he was about to die. He was simply pointing out that at 75 he is well past the point of being middle-aged.
Australian media, including Network Ten, dissected the words to make the headline much more sensational that the facts. “Billy Connolly Says His Life Is ‘Slipping Away’ And He’s ‘Near The End’” Ten published, “’My life, it’s slipping away’: Billy Connolly says he is ‘near the end’”, wrote the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Murdoch tabloids jumped in with “Billy Connolly admits ‘life is slipping away’ in new TV interview”.
“Not dying, not dead, not slipping away. Sorry if I depressed you. Maybe I should have phrased it better,” Billy said via his wife Pamela Stephenson’s Twitter feed.
— Pamela Stephenson (@PamelaStephensn) January 5, 2019
Billy was diagnosed with both prostate cancer and Parkinson’s in 2013 and has responded well to treatment.
Last week the tabloid media wrote off Australian music legend Olivia Newton-John with only weeks to live. No-one bothered to verify the story. Likewise with Connolly, the tabloids had him pushing up daisies without verifying what he truly meant by “near the end” (which logic should tell anyone that for a 75 year old, the end is closer than the beginning).