MIAMI and NEW YORK — Today we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Janet Reno, a longtime friend of the Parkinson’s Foundation. Ms. Reno passed away at age 78 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was diagnosed in 1995, while still serving as the first female Attorney General of the United States. Despite her diagnosis, Ms. Reno continued in this role until 2000.
Within the Parkinson’s community, Ms. Reno advocated for greater research funding and encouraged others with the disease to engage in advocacy as well. As part of her efforts to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research and outreach, Ms. Reno served as the Honorary Chair of Moving Day® Miami, the National Parkinson Foundation’s walk, from 2012-2015.
“Janet was a strong, brave woman, who approached each day of her life wanting to do the right thing,” said John W. Kozyak, Chairman of the Parkinson’s Foundation and friend of Ms. Reno. “She set an example for people living with Parkinson’s and she set an example for so many more to live life to the fullest, to be humble and to do the right thing. I will never forget how Janet comforted me when my parents were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She is a legend to me and many.”
“Janet Reno lived two decades with Parkinson's and was an amazing example to everyone suffering with this disease, showing that it is possible to live a happy life. During her gubernatorial primary campaign, she drove all over the state in her little red truck and showed the world that Parkinson does not have to define you,” said Dr. Michael S. Okun, National Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Foundation and professor and chairman of neurology at the University of Florida. “We were honored to have her as the first patient at the University of Florida, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, where she was a champion for the interdisciplinary care concept.”
“Janet Reno’s willingness to publicly disclose her Parkinson’s showed courage and strength. It also paved the way for improved public awareness of this disease,” said Daniel Novak, Ph.D., Chair, PDF People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council. “As a person living with Parkinson’s, I’m grateful for her openness, which helped to advance understanding, treatments and care for our community.