September 23, 2016 8:15 AM EDT

Terry Jones, the Monty Python star and director of The Life Of Brian and The Meaning Of Life, has been diagnosed with dementia.

The 74-year-old is battling primary progressive aphasia, a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia, which affects his ability to communicate or give interviews. The news of his illness came as the Welsh affiliate of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced that Welsh-born Jones had been named as a recipient for the BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.

In a statement on the BAFTA website, a representative of Jones’ revealed the star’s diagnosis, adding that he was “proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and looking forward to the celebrations”.

Jones was a key member of the comedy troupe which included John Cleese, Michael Palin and Eric Idle. As well as appearing in and directing much of the group’s output, he also wrote many books and screenplays and his poems have appeared in Poetry Review.

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