Family says Dear Abby founder has Alzheimer's

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Pauline Phillips, the founder of the Dear Abby advice column, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, family members revealed Tuesday.

The column's distributor released a statement from the family following media inquiries about Phillips' health, said Kathie Kerr, spokeswoman for Universal Press Syndicate, based in Kansas City. Until now, Phillips' husband, Morton, had asked family members not to discuss his wife's health publicly.

The family said the deterioration of Pauline Phillips' memory has been slow.

Phillips, 84, has not been involved in the day-to-day business of the column for a couple of years, Kerr said.

Phillips acknowledged in December 2000 that she had shared writing duties with her daughter since 1987. Last month, Jeanne Phillips began taking sole credit for the column.

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