Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. announced Friday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

The 76-year-old says the disease, which took his father's life, became noticeable to him and his family three years ago.

"For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor," Jackson said in a statement. "But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced."

He hopes physical therapy will slow the disease's progression, and all him to continue his work.

"This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that," he said. "It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million worldwide."

Jackson was arrested along with seven college students on July 17, 1960, for advocating the right to use a public library in Greenville.