updated 06/22/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/22/2011 AT 9:00 AM ET
In his new song, “A Better Place,” Glen Campbell sings, “I need the ones I love Lord/More and more each day.”
The lyric is more personal than the world knows: In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Campbell, 75, and his wife, Kim, reveal that the singer has Alzheimer’s disease.
The couple have decided to go public with Glen s diagnosis because he’s hoping to say farewell with a final slate of live performances this fall – and they want his fans to be aware of the musician’s condition.
“Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer,” says Kim. “But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage, I wouldn t want people to think, ‘What’s the matter with him? Is he drunk?’ ”