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Ernie Sigley diagnosed with Alzheimer's

AAP logoAAP 3/10/2016

Popular Australian radio and TV personality Ernie Sigley has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The 78-year-old's family confirmed the news on Monday, after the veteran presenter and avid Western Bulldogs supporter didn't make it to the AFL grand final on Saturday.

"While he would love to have been at the MCG to watch his beloved Western Bulldogs make history, Ernie had to settle for the live television broadcast," the family's statement read.

They said Sigley has been living with the disease throughout 2016.

Sigley's career stretches over more than 55 years and is best known for his work alongside comedy pal Denise Drysdale.

He was also a host on Wheel of Fortune, In Melbourne Today, Adelaide Tonight and 3AW radio's afternoon program, where he retired in 2008.

Sigley was also a singer, earning numerous number one hits - most notably with the 1974 duet Hey Paula with Drysdale.

Born in Melbourne's working class suburb of Footscray and known for his larrikin laugh, Sigley was often referred to as the "little Aussie Battler".

He famously interviewed the Beatles during their 1964 Australian tour and managed to get quite honest answers from John Lennon by using his detailed knowledge of music to ask them about their rock influences.

Sigley also won a gold Logie for the most popular personality on Australian television in 1975.

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