Tragic Terry ‘barely knows who I am’ says Python star
“I look in his eyes and I am not sure he recognises me. He walks along the Heath as Terry likes to get outside. Terry is in his own world, is quite happy. I just miss him. It touches me.”
Jones is suffering from frontotemporal dementia – a form of the disease that affects behaviour and language and often presents itself as being insensitive or rude.
The pair formed part of the BBC comedy troupe starring John Cleese, 78, Eric Idle, 75, Michael Palin, 75, and Graham Chapman, who died at the age of 48 in 1989.
They performed from 1969 until 1983 and made a series of comebacks, including the 2014 show at the O2 and a Not The Messiah show at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2009.
Gilliam added: “We argued our positions and fought for what we believed in. Terry has moved into another world. I miss arguing with Terry. He was always passionate about things.
“It is hard when you have spent your life arguing, fighting and being inspired by someone.
“When that character is not there any more that is the sad thing. I hope he is content where he is that’s Terry Jones with Michael Palin at the 2016 Bafta awards all.” In an interview in April last year, Jones’s daughter Sally insisted that the actor could still recognise friends and family. She said: “Friends often ask, ‘Will he recognise me?’
“I tell them, ‘Of course he will’. It is his speech that has gone. In fact, he loves seeing friends. His only problem is that he no longer has the ability to tell them how pleased he is to see them.”
Jones revealed that he was battling dementia in September 2016 after Bafta Cymru announced that he had been given a special award for outstanding contribution to film and television.
He later attended the event with Palin and his son Mark, who spoke on his behalf.
There is no known cure for dementia, which causes nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. The brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all its functions.
In the UK, about 850,000 people suffer from dementia.
The Pythons in the 1970s, with Terry Jones, left, and close friend Terry Gilliam, top right