Former footballer Denis Law, the Manchester United and Scotland great, has been diagnosed with mixed dementia.
The 81-year-old, who was appointed CBE in 2016 for his services to football and charity, made 404 appearances for United.
Nicknamed ‘The King’, there is a statue of Law outside Old Trafford alongside the late George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton.
Charlton was diagnosed with dementia in November.
Who is Denis Law?
The Aberdeen-born striker made his breakthrough at Huddersfield, then had spells with Manchester City and Torino before heading to Old Trafford in 1962.
Law scored an incredible 237 goals in 404 appearances for United and the player nicknamed ‘The King’ ended his career across town with City, while he remains Scotland’s joint top scorer on 30 goals.
Away from football, Law met his wife-to-be Diana at an Aberdeenshire dancefloor when they were both still teenagers. They married in 1962 and went on to have five children.
Since hanging up his boots Law worked in TV and radio covering football for many years and was the inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game.
Later that year a statue of Law, Best and Charlton was unveiled at Old Trafford.
In 2005 he was at the bedside of Best as his former teammate died of multiple organ failures.
Law was named as patron of the UK based charity Football Aid in 2010, established a charity - Denis Law Legacy Trust - focused around community engagement, health and sports participation.
A statue of Law was unveiled at the entrance to the Aberdeen Sports Village depicting his pose after scoring for Scotland against England in 1967.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours list and received the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen in 2017.
What has Denis Law said about his dementia diagnosis?
Manchester United and Scotland great Denis Law says he has been diagnosed with “mixed dementia”.
In a statement, Law said: “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.
“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 am 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.
“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 a long time ago and now it’s 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 (Gunnar Solskjaer) and the club have made.
“Also where possible I would like to continue my involvement with the ‘Denis Law Legacy Trust’, the work the staff and volunteers do in the community is amazing and it makes a real difference.
“I know the road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever changing and so ask for understanding and patience as this will not be an easy journey especially for the people who love you the most.
“My daughter, Di, is completing ‘The Thames Bridges Trek’ on the 11th September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society so if you can please donate at www.justgiving.com/thelawman.
“As a family, we have been offered support by Alzheimer’s Society and have chosen to fundraise for the charity to help support its crucial work.
“Alzheimer’s Society’s services have never been in more need, used over 5.5 million times since March 2020, and are a lifeline to thousands of families who are also facing a dementia diagnosis.
“The charity is also doing amazing work with the sports industry, with its Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which I fully support. This really could make the biggest difference to former players, players, and fans alike.”
- Those wishing to donate can make a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Society HERE.