Della Reese, the 85-year-old actress known for work on Touched by an Angel and in Harlem Nights is reportedly in quite the fight as she deals with the effects of Type II diabetes.
Earlier this month, Reese stepped out to celebrate Touched by an Angel cast member Roma Downey getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When she appeared, the actress looked much different than she did just two years ago when she starred in the Hallmark movie Signed, Sealed, Delivered in 2014. She was in a wheelchair and seemed to have dropped quite a bit of weight.
According to Radar Online, Reese recently stated that her health is getting worse.
“My life is at stake,” she reportedly said. “I don’t have type 2 diabetes — type 2 diabetes has me.”
After seeing her at the Walk of Fame event, a medical expert told the publication that they believed her weakened state seems to be because of high blood sugar issues, which can lead to nerve and brain damage that can affect the central nervous system.
Her rep, Lynda Bensky, did clear up that Reese isn’t fully wheelchair-bound, but did reportedly say that she “has been in and out of one for years.” Looking at past pictures of Reese, she can be seen using a wheelchair on and off, even walking with a cane in 2013. “As she gets older she doesn’t walk that far,” Bensky said.
Reese was diagnosed with Type II diabetes back in 2000 after collapsing on the set of Touched by an Angel. She told Diabetes Digest in 2014 that after being diagnosed she was upset because she hadn’t done anything to prevent herself from having the disease, often eating recklessly. But soon after her diagnosis, she did what she could to take control of the disease.
“With diet, exercise and medication, I took control of my diabetes,” she told them. “I lost 20 pounds and lowered my blood sugar from between 275 and 300 to between 67 and 110.”
Back in 2003, Reese told USA Today that it was her hope to maintain control of her diabetes so that she could continue to live well. But it seems that things have taken a turn that Reese didn’t want to have to face.
“I learned to do what was necessary because I am fighting for the quality of my life,” Reese said back then. “I don’t want my husband to push me around in a wheelchair. I don’t want someone to lead me around because I’m blind. You don’t have to let your life be destroyed by diabetes. You can reclaim your life.”