04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Montel Williams has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but told reporters Monday he won't quit his talk show. "This disease is not going to stop me," said Williams, who was accompanied by his wife, Grace, at a New York news conference. "We don't know how long I've had it for, but I've been misdiagnosed for 10 years." Williams, 43, is considering several recently approved drugs and is starting a fund drive to find a cure for the crippling disease. Today Williams will begin taping the ninth season of his nationally syndicated daytime talk show "The Montel Williams Show."
- MS is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Symptoms include loss of problem-solving capacity or short-term memory, pain in the extremities, partial or complete paralysis, loss of muscle control and blurry vision due to an attack on the optic nerve. The disease afflicts more than 300,000 people in the U.S., of whom about 40% have the progressive form in which neurological functions steadily worsen. Most MS victims end up in wheelchairs or need help walking.
- Other celebrities currently battling MS include actress Annette Funicello and comic Richard Pryor.