Multiple System Atrophy

DJ Gareth O'Callaghan to step down from radio as he battles 'rare and incurable disease'

O’Callaghan told his fans:’I will miss being with you on the radio.’

90068809_90068809 File photo of O'Callaghan from 2006. Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

GARETH O’CALLAGHAN IS stepping down as a presenter on Classic Hits 4fm after being diagnosed with a rare and incurable neurodegenerative illness.

The former 2FM DJ confirmed in a Facebook post this morning that he is battling multiple system atrophy (MSA), sometimes known as Shy-Drager syndrome.

This disorder leads to a deterioration of your brain’s ability to control muscles and limbs as well as actions not controlled consciously, such as blood pressure or digestion.

“It is a rare disease, very progessive and sadly incurable,” O’Callaghan wrote.

“I thought I might have been able to continue working as normal for another few months but unfortunately the pace and the painful decline of this awful thing has really taken us by surprise. I am absolutely devastated by what is happening to me and of all that lies ahead.”

The well-loved DJ said he is learning to take life one day at a time, and is remaining positive:

I’ve always said that life is only a short journey, and that is true – whether you are lucky enough to remain healthy throughout; or you suddenly find you are unexpectedly challenged by something you never thought would happen to you: something that terrifies you and challenges you at every level of your being. I now find myself facing those challenges.

“I will miss being with you on the radio.”

He said the main reason for stepping down is that the progression of MSA, which he describes as ‘disgusting relentless’, is starting to affect his voice.

In March this year the DJ shared with his fans that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,. The early stages of MSA can be easily mistaken as this more well-known and common condition.

The distinguishing symptoms often include faster progression of the disease, more falls, difficulties with speech, and little improvement when treated with typical Parkinson’s medication.

O’Callaghan’s career started in Dublin pirate radio stations before moving to RTE’s 2FM. He took up his role at Classic Hits 4FM following a stint on Galway Bay FM.

The DJ said he will continue to keep fans updated on his progress on his Facebook page.

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