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April 24, 2014

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O'Jays Singer Walter Williams Reveals Battle With Multiple Sclerosis

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In honor of World Multiple Sclerosis Day today, O'Jays front man Walter Williams has decided to become an advocate of the disease and go public with his ongoing battle.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee -- known for classic soul hits including 'For the Love of Money,' which is the theme song of Donald Trump's reality show 'The Apprentice' -- revealed to Reuters that he has maintained an active life despite being diagnosed nearly three decades ago.

"I have done well with MS, and I want other sufferers to know that they too can lead a normal life," the 67-year-old crooner said. "Why now? Well, it's a good time to come out and let people know there is medication for this now that helps a great deal. When I was diagnosed, they told me I had 20 years to live and there was no cure, but it has all changed."

In the midst of touring the world and cranking out hits for Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records, Williams initially began to feel the effects of the inflammatory autoimmune disease in 1983, including numbness in his feet, legs and torso -- all of which led to his diagnoses at the age of 39.

The shocking news not only came as a surprise to the 'I Love Music' chart topper, it also spiraled the singer into a cycle of self-loathing.

"I knew nothing about MS, so when I was diagnosed, I just freaked out," he revealed. "The doctor told me to get my life in order as I probably only had 20 years to live."

"At first I did the pity party thing and felt sorry for myself, but then I got angry and decided to fight it. I started exercising more to make my body strong and started to eat right and keep a great attitude. I slipped a lot, but I got through it."

To date, more than 2 million people are affected with MS worldwide, affecting three women to every male and often showing symptoms when people reach their early thirties.

Although Williams' family was made aware of his health issues, he did not let the disease shun his legendary music career.

"I just suffered through it," he said. "It wasn't easy but I had to because I didn't want to stop singing. What aggravated it was heat, so I took cold showers and had a bucket of ice on stage that I could put on my head."

With his solo debut, 'Exposed' currently available through digital retailers Williams is living proof that "you can live a normal, happy life" while battling multiple sclerosis.

"I am a living example that you can live with MS with a great attitude, eating properly, exercising, talking to your health care professionals to find out exactly what is best for you as regards treatment."

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Celebrities with Multiple Sclerosis

Tamia
Grammy Award-nominated Singer
Diagnosed with MS in 2003 at the age of 28.

Celebrities with Multiple Sclerosis

Richard Pryor
Comedian/Actor
Diagnosed with MS in 1986 at the age of 46.

Celebrities with Multiple Sclerosis

Montel WilliamsTelevision Host/Personality
Diagnosed with MS in 1999 at the age of 43.

Celebrities with Multiple Sclerosis

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