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Exene Cervenka Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

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Exene Cervenka released a statement on her website yesterday that she has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Usually abbreviated as MS, Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the nerve cells, affecting communication between the spinal cord and the brain. Although there is no cure, there are treatments to lessen the possibility of disability. It is not life-threatening although it can be debilitating. Other public figures who have previously been diagnosed with MS are Teri Garr, Lola Falana, Montel Williams, Donna Fargo, Annette Funicello and Richard Pryor.

As one would expect from the strong and independent frontwoman who has conquered audiences across the globe, she is not taking the news lying down.

Although this is obviously unfortunate news, I am choosing to see the positive in it. I, and X as a band, have supported the Sweet Relief charity since the mid-1990's; the irony of this is not lost on any of us. Sweet Relief was started as an aide to uninsured artists by musician Victoria Williams when she herself was diagnosed with MS in 1992. While this diagnosis will most certainly mean some changes for me, personally, it will not affect my commitments to the current X U.S. tour, nor will it affect my solo album that is slated for release this fall on Bloodshot Records.

My focus will certainly be on maintaining my health--many people remain strong and continue to live their lives as productively as they had before an MS diagnosis and I plan to be one of those people.

Exene arrived in Los Angeles in 1976. After living in various crash pads, she became a founding member of the seminal LA punk band X, along with Billy Zoom, John Doe, and D.J. Bonebrake. As well as currently touring with X, she also performs with The Knitters, Auntie Christ and The Original Sinners. She is also an artist, an author, a poet, a political activist and an avid collector of vintage aprons. She currently calls Missouri home. LAist would like to send our support and good wishes to Exene and family.

Photo by Elise Thompson for LAist