Director Curtis Hanson’s Real Cause Of Death Was A Harrowing Illness You Should Probably Know About

By: 09.22.16
curtis-hanson-rebecca-yeldham_getty-cropped ... LOS ANGELES - JULY 29: Director Curtis Hanson and wife, LA Film Festival Director Rebecca Yeldham attend the premiere of the restored 1948 masterpiece 'The Red Shoes' at the Directors Guild of America on July 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

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Curtis Hanson — director of L.A. Confidential, Wonderboys, 8 Mile, and The Hand That Rocks the Cradlepassed away on Tuesday at the age of 71. Early reports were conflicting, with some citing Alzheimer’s disease as the cause of death and other reports mentioning a heart attack. Now Hanson’s partner, producer Rebecca Yeldham (pictured above with Hanson), with whom Hanson had one child, has released a statement to clear up confusion about the rare terminal illness Hanson succumbed to.

Yeldham clarifies that Hanson had Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD), which is “a distinctly different diagnosis than Alzheimer’s, with its own set of symptoms and challenges.” FTD causes degenerative damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain, causing deterioration in one’s functioning. The disease can also include a symptom called anosognosia, which means the patient does not realize anything is wrong. This facet of the illness makes receiving a diagnosis and pursuing treatment more of a challenge for FTD sufferers. As scary as that sounds, Yeldham was able to find something positive in this:

“We will be forever thankful that Curtis never suffered in the knowledge of his illness or prognosis. He died peacefully in his sleep.”

Yeldham thanked everyone for their compassion and also requested, “Please consider learning more about FTD and making a donation in Curtis’ name at: theaftd.org.”

(Via The Wrap)

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