Woody Durham, who served for 40 years as the “Voice of the UNC Tar Heels” on radio, has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, which affects his ability to speak.
In a statement release Wednesday morning, Durham said, “I am not able to address groups as I did in the past. While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for (my wife) Jean and me – and yes, quite an ironic one at that – it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.”
The neurocognitive disorder affects language expression but Durham said he can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with his wife. Plus, he will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events, and be part of civil and charitable endeavors.
“As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends,” Durham said in the statement. “Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.”
Durham, a 1963 UNC graduate, retired in 2011. He called more than 1,800 broadcasts on the Tar Heel Sports Network, winning the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year award 13 times.