Watch CBSN Live

Bobby Vee says he has Alzheimer's disease

Musician Bobby Vee sings his hit "Rubber Ball" at the North Dakota Capitol on June 20, 1999, in Bismarck, N.D. AP

(CBS/AP) ST. PAUL, Minn. - 1960s teen idol Bobby Vee is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The "Suze Baby" singer, 69, says on his website that he was diagnosed last year.

Vee, born Robert Velline in Fargo, N.D., was catapulted to stardom after the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "Big Bopper" Richardson in a 1959 plane crash en route to Moorhead, Minn.

Vee and his friends filled in for the trio at the Moorhead performance and soon after that he recorded his first single, "Suzie Baby," for Soma Records in Minneapolis.

He had dozens of 1960s hits, including "Take Good Care of My Baby," 'Rubber Ball," and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Vee's wife of 48 years, Karen Velline, is also dealing with health issues. She's on a waiting list for a lung transplant.