'I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,' says Cassidy

By Christina Dugan and Natalie Stone
February 20, 2017 at 04:52 PM EST
Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com.

David Cassidy is battling dementia.

The 66-year-old actor, widely known for his starring role as Keith Partridge on the 1970s series The Partridge Family, reveals to PEOPLE that he is fighting the memory loss disease.

The actor, who watched his grandfather struggle with the disease and witnessed his mother “disappear” from the disease herself, tells PEOPLE of his diagnosis: “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”

Now that he’s come to terms his condition, Cassidy has made the decision to stop touring as a musician to concentrate on his health and happiness. “I want to focus on what I am, who I am, and how I’ve been without any distractions,” he says. “I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”

Cassidy’s revelation follows a roller coaster of personal ups and downs that the actor has faced in the past decade, including a show in Agoura Hills, California, this past weekend where Cassidy repeatedly struggled to remember lyrics to songs he had been singing for nearly 50 years.

In November 2010, he was charged with a DUI and was subsequently charged with the same offense in August 2013 and January 2014. A month after his third arrest, his wife, Sue Shifrin-Cassidy, filed for divorce. In February 2015, the actor filed for bankruptcy and was charged following his hit-and-run eight months later in October 2015.

The ’70s teen heartthrob has also battled substance abuse issues, including a stint in rehab in 2014.

Cassidy, who received an Emmy nomination for his appearance on Police Story in 1978, was most recently seen on TV in a 2013 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

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