Entertainment

Neil Diamond Serenades Colorado Firefighters While Fighting His Own Battle with Parkinson’s

A surprise 'Sweet Caroline' singalong, packed with gratitude, was 'so good, so good, so good'

Image Credit: ANGELA WEISS / AFP / Getty Images

“It was my honor,” said singer Neil Diamond in a tweet earlier this week.

He was expressing his gratitude to a group of Colorado firefighters for whom he briefly came out of retirement to give an impromptu, surprise concert.

The beloved 77-year-old entertainer, who retired last January, gave the private singalong at the Incident Command post at Basalt High School in Basalt, Colorado, on Friday, as Rolling Stone and other outlets reported.

Diamond and his wife, Katie McNeill, have lived in the area for years, according to Inside Edition.

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The Brooklyn-born singer revealed his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease last winter when he announced his retirement and the cancellation of his 50th anniversary tour on the advice of his physician.

The audience, filled with uniformed firefighter heroes, enthusiastically joined Diamond in singing his iconic “Sweet Caroline.” Diamond played acoustic guitar.

“Song Sung Blue,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “America,” “Solitary Man” — these are some of the other well-loved soundtracks by Diamond that years and years after their release remain dear to the hearts of many because of the times they bring listeners back to, not to mention their sheer musical artistry.

Diamond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s sold 130 million albums worldwide. On top of that, on the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, Diamond has had 10 number-one singles over the course of his career.

The 12,588-acre Lake Christine wildfire, which began on July 3, was 90 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

Command was transferred from federal to local authorities on Tuesday.

Related: Neil Diamond Will Forever Have a Place in America’s Heart

Allison Marcus and Richard Miller, who stand accused of sparking the blaze, are currently free on $7,500 bonds. If convicted, they may face up to six years in prison, according to The Denver Post.

Award-winning actor Alan Alda announced his own diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease Tuesday on CBS This Morning. He was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative condition three and a half years ago

Like Diamond, the 82-year-old “M*A*S*H” star won’t let it steal his spark, noting he is “doing great” and has “had a full life [since the diagnosis].”

For the estimated 1 million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease, encouraging, hopeful examples like Neil Diamond and Alan Alda are an inspirational godsend.

And here’s more about Alan Alda, too, in the video below:

Actor Alan Alda Reveals He Has Parkinson’s

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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