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Bobby Vee announces he has Alzheimer's, plans to retire from public life

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Bobby Vee, the Fargo-born pop music legend, announced on his blog on Monday that he has Alzheimer's disease and will be retiring from public life.

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Vee, 69, said in the blog post that he was diagnosed with mild stages of the disease a little more than a year ago. Since that time, he wrote, he's chosen to remain private and focus on family and music.

Up until recently, Vee had maintained a consistent touring schedule, playing about 50 international shows in 2010.

Vee's career got its start as the result of a tragic twist of fate, when on Feb. 3, 1959, a light plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper from Clear Lake, Iowa, to their next show in Moorhead crashed in a snow-covered field, killing everyone aboard.

Vee, who was 15 at the time, along with a hastily-assembled band of schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows, volunteered for, and were given, the job of filling in for Holly and his band in Moorhead.

Their performance that night was successful, and Bobby Vee and The Shadows had their first hit, "Susie Baby," later that year.

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Pioneer staff reports
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