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Legendary Performer Glen Campbell Opens Up About Alzheimer's

MALIBU (CBS) — One in eight people over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.

Just a few months ago, Glen Campbell told the world he was one of them.

Now, one of the world's greatest guitarists and performers is trying to hold on to his memories. And he has memories that are the stuff of dreams.

Glen Campbell Guitarist
(credit: CBS)

The 75-year-old performer earned his early fame with country/pop hits such as "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Gentle On My Mind" and hosting the variety show "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" on CBS. During the '60s and '70s, he dominated the pop charts as well as the tabloid covers, easily transitioning between musician, actor and TV personality.

Campbell and his wife sat down with CBS2 to share what they're going through.

At their Malibu home Campbell walked us through hallways lined with framed memories.

Glen Campbell
(credit: CBS)

"Is that who I think it is? That's me with Elvis," Campbell said. "He had more charisma in his little finger than anybody…you could feel him when he was coming."

The Country Hall Of Fame musician was also an actor. He played John Wayne's sidekick in the original "True Grit".

"John Wayne was just like he was in the movies," Campbell said. "I pushed John Wayne…he wouldn't have won his only Oscar if I hadn't given him a big push."

And those older memories seem to come up easier than recent ones.

His wife Kim has been by his side 30 years.

Glen Campbell and Wife Kim
Musician Glen Campbell (R) and Kim Woolen arrive at the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Paul McCartney held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy)

"I'm a little hard of hearing on this side," Campbell told us.

"Finally, he admits it!" Kim laughed.

When asked what changes she's noticed Kim said that Campbell gets forgetful and disoriented, even in their home. Still, he is functioning well.

She's thankful that certain medications have helped him improve and that his music is like therapy.

"It hasn't affected his music. He really sings great," Kim said.

The eight-time Grammy winner is still touring with his grown children but spends much of his time at his home in Malibu with Kim.

If you or someone you know is caring for a loved one with Alzheimers you can find tips and help from the Alzheimer's Association here.

If you'd like to leave messages of support for Glen Campbell or if you have an Alzheimer's-related story you'd like to share please leave a comment below.

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