Brian Wilson's family reveal the Beach Boys legend has dementia

16 February 2024, 10:54

Brian Wilson's family have revealed The Beach Boys' legend is suffering with dementia.
Brian Wilson's family have revealed The Beach Boys' legend is suffering with dementia. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

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Brian Wilson has dementia.

The family of The Beach Boys legend have revealed in new documents that the Pet Sounds mastermind has "major neurocognitive disorders (including dementia)".

This comes as his family look to file a conservatorship for Brian's affairs in the wake of losing his beloved wife Melinda.

A statement from his family on Wilson's official website explains that those closest to him are eager to support him by taking care of his affairs:

"Following the passing of Brian's beloved wife Melinda, after careful consideration and consultation among Brian, his seven children, [housekeeper] Gloria Ramos and Brian's doctors (and consistent with family processes put in place by Brian and Melinda), we are confirming that longtime Wilson family representatives LeeAnn Hard and Jean Sievers will serve as Brian's co-conservators".

"This decision was made to ensure that there will be no extreme changes to the household and Brian and the children living at home will be taken care of and remain in the home where they are cared for by Gloria Ramos and the wonderful team at the house who have been in place for many years helping take care of the family," his family told People magazine.

Brian's family added that the legendary musician can still "enjoy all of his family and friends and continue to work on current projects as well as participate in any activities he chooses."

Brian Wilson with his late wife Melinda Ledbetter in 2016. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Brian Wilson with his late wife Melinda Ledbetter in 2016. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Melinda Ledbetter was appointed the conservator of Brian Wilson's affairs in 1995, soon after they married.

The couple adopted five children together, some of whom still live at the Wilson residence. Under the terms of the newly proposed conservatorship, they'll also be cared for by Wilson's housekeeper Ramos.

Tragically, only weeks ago, Melinda died at the age of 77 leaving Brian devastated and in disarray without his wife and carer.

"Melinda was more than my wife," Wilson wrote following her death. "She was my saviour. She gave me the emotional security I needed to have a career."

"She encouraged me to make the music that was closest to my heart. She was my anchor."

He met Melinda during the years of mishandling and abuse of care he endured by his psychologist Eugene Landy - who obtained control over Brian's business affairs - finally filing a restraining order against Landy with the help of his family.

Brian's family have applied for a new conservatorship as there was no successor appointed when Melinda was alive.

According to the conservatorship application documents handed into court, Wilson "does not have the capacity to give informed consent to the administration of medications appropriate to the care and treatment of major neurocognitive disorders (including dementia)".

It describes him as someone “unable to properly provide for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter".

A doctor added that Wilson wouldn't be able to attend any court hearings about the conservatorship as he "often makes spontaneous irrelevant or incoherent utterances, has very short attention span and while unintentionally disruptive, is frequently unable to maintain decorum appropriate to the situation."

Thoughout Brian Wilson's life, he has suffered a series of nervous breakdowns and a fragile mental state, which was exacerbated by heavy drug use, namely LSD, during the sixties.

He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, mild manic depression, and also suffers from auditory hallucinations - or "voices in his head".

In a 2006 interview, he described them as being "all day every day, and I can't get them out. Every few minutes the voices say something derogatory to me, which discourages me a little bit, but I have to be strong enough to say to them, 'Hey, would you quit stalking me?'"