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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reagan Admits to Alzheimer's

LOS ANGELES -- Saddened admirers flooded the office of Ronald Reagan with calls Tuesday, after the former president announced that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

In a poignant, hand-penned letter to "My fellow Americans," Reagan disclosed Saturday that he is suffering from the early stages of the disease, a progressive, irreversible neurological disorder.

"I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life," Reagan, 83, wrote.

A statement from five doctors that accompanied the letter said that while Reagan's health was otherwise good, "it is expected that as the years go on it will begin to deteriorate."

Reagan explained he was going public with his diagnosis to promote broader awareness of Alzheimer's, which among diseases is the fourth leading cause of death for adults after heart disease, cancer and stroke.