R&B Singer Will Downing Diagnosed With Debilitating Disease

According to reports, R&B vocalist Will Downing has canceled touring for the immediate future after being diagnosed with a disorder called Polymyositis, a debilitating chronic inflammatory disease of the muscles that can possibly lead to the handicap of the affected. Its cause is unknown. Downing, 46, has been hospitalized since January. Although Polymyositis can occur at any age, it mostly affects adults in their 40s and 50s. It is more common in blacks than in whites, and women are diagnosed more often than men. According to the Mayo Clinic, periods of remission, during which signs and symptoms improve spontaneously, rarely occur in Polymyositis. However, treatment can improve muscle strength and function. Downing says that he first came down with symptoms over the holidays when he felt extremely tired and sick. He adds that his fear of doctors kept him from discovering what his pain was. However, the singer says he is now in rehabilitation and working to get himself back in shape. He’s moving slowly, but he’s moving nonetheless and is thankful for that and for the fact that his voice so far has not been affected. Downing says he still plans to release a new CD this September on Peak Records, which was co-founded by Russ Freeman of the Rippingtons. In 1993, Downing released his fourth album, Love’s the Place to Be. Subsequent discs include Moods (1995); Invitation Only (1997); the Gerald Albright collaboration Pleasures of the Night (1998); All the Man You Need (2000); Sensual Journey (2002); Emotions (2003); Christmas, Love and You (2004; and Soul Symphony (2005). Downing’s albums regularly score on the U.S. jazz charts, with both Moods and Pleasures of the Night reaching No. 1 in Billboard. Sensual Journey and Emotions both reached No. 2.


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