Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease

20 September 2023, 07:10

Ken Livingstone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
Ken Livingstone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The former mayor, who earned himself the nickname 'Red Ken', is being "well cared for by his family and friends" as he lives a "private life" in retirement.

His family said in a statement: "In response to media enquiries the Livingstone family today announce that Ken Livingstone, ex-MP for Brent and former mayor of London, has been diagnosed with and is living with Alzheimer's disease.

"Although a previously prominent public figure, Ken is now retired and lives a private life. He will no longer be available for any media interviews or requests and we will not be responding to any media questions or enquiries.

"Ken is being well cared for by his family and friends and we ask you for your understanding and to respect his privacy and that of his family."

Read more: ‘Lives will be lost’: Lord Winston tells LBC as NHS consultants and junior doctors walk out in first ever joint strike

Read more: Suella Braverman urges Meta not to 'go dark' detecting online child abuse

Livingstone was given the nickname 'Red Ken'
Livingstone was given the nickname 'Red Ken'. Picture: Alamy

The 78-year-old was a prominent figure in London politics for more than four decades from the 1970s.

He stood as an independent and became the first mayor of London in May 2000 when then-prime minister Sir Tony Blair created the post.

In his second term, which he won as the official Labour candidate, he earned praise for the way he stood up for London after the July 2005 suicide bombings and helped win the 2012 Olympic Games for the capital.

However, Mr Livingstone was later defeated by Boris Johnson and a failed bid to return to office in 2012.

Ken Livingstone: Blair shouldn't receive knighthood

The Alzheimer's Society has praised Mr Livingstone's family for "being open about his diagnosis".

Chief executive Kate Lee said: "We are really sorry to hear that Ken Livingstone is living with Alzheimer's disease. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

"We can see from the high profile individuals who have recently spoken about their dementia diagnosis, including Alastair Stewart and Fiona Phillips amongst others, how prevalent dementia is. One in three people born in the UK today will go on to develop this devastating condition.

"We're grateful to Ken's family for being open about his diagnosis which will really help increase public understanding. It's crucial we get people talking because a problem of this scale won't go away on its own.

"Receiving a diagnosis can be daunting, but we believe it's better to know. Our website alzheimers.org.uk has plenty of resources, including a downloadable symptoms checklist that people can take with them to their GP."

Alzheimer's Research UK chief executive Hilary Evans said: "We hope this will put a further spotlight on the desperate need to find new treatments for all forms of dementia.

"As it stands, there are no treatments available to slow or stop dementia. But in recent months, we have seen the tide beginning to turn on Alzheimer's disease, with the first ever drugs that can slow its progression showing positive results in clinical trials.

"However while we wait to hear from regulators on whether these drugs are safe and effective, we know more needs to be done, and we'll work tirelessly to bring about a world free of the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Serbia Croatia

Serbia protests after Croatian minister calls president a Russian ‘satellite’

Labour-run Lambeth Council has raked in up to £50m in fines since introducing controversial low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the south London borough.

Labour-run Lambeth rakes in up to £50m in fines since introducing controversial low-traffic neighbourhoods

Russia Ukraine War

Ukraine’s defence minister says supply delays are costing lives

Namibia Geingob Funeral

African and European leaders attend state funeral of Namibian president

Israel Palestinians Truce Talks

Netanyahu says ceasefire deal would only ‘delay somewhat’ an offensive in Rafah

Russia Ukraine War

31,000 Ukrainian troops killed since start of full-scale invasion – Zelensky

Belarus Election

Belarusians vote in tightly controlled election amid calls for boycott

Sadiq Khan has accused Rishi Sunak of 'enabling' Islamophobia

Sadiq Khan accuses Rishi Sunak of 'enabling anti-Muslim hatred' in the Conservative Party

Sloan Mattingly died in a 'freak accident' on the beach

Horrifying final moments of girl, 7, buried alive in sand when hole she was digging on family beach trip collapsed

Donald Trump said Prince Harry betrayed the Queen

'Harry betrayed the Queen': Donald Trump says prince's behaviour is 'unforgivable' as he wades into royal row

Nasar Mohammed Hussein

Urgent manhunt for violent criminal on the loose in London after he took off his ankle tag while out of jail on licence

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for an investigation into institutional Islamophobia in the Conservative Party

Conservatives must investigate 'institutional Islamophobia' in the party, Muslim Council of Britain says

Oliver Dowden said Lee Anderson 'didn't mean to be Islamophobic'

Deputy PM says Lee Anderson 'didn't intend to be Islamophobic' by saying that Khan was controlled by Islamists

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty says he 'was healthier on heroin' as he reveals life-changing diagnosis after saying he's a 'sick man'

Donald Trump

Nikki Haley vows to fight on after Donald Trump wins in her home state

Biden Governors

Calls to ‘disagree better’ as US state governors meet at White House