Charlie Bird fears losing voice to illness will rob him of his “humanity” 3 months ago

Charlie Bird fears losing voice to illness will rob him of his “humanity”

"That is what frightens me about motor neurone..."

Charlie Bird has opened up about losing his voice to Motor Neurone disease, saying he fears it will rob him of his “humanity”.


It comes as an emotional feature-length documentary is set to air on RTE on Monday night, following his life since his diagnosis in 2021.

Viewers will see the former journalist speaking with his new voice, through the technology of an app which uses the archived broadcast audio created during his time spent working on RTE.

"That is what frightens me about motor neurone, I’m losing my humanity," he said. “But now if I have no voice I still have a little way of communication [with the voice app]."

In the documentary, Charlie relives the highlights of his career, as well as the early days of his illness, and talks about the pain he feels knowing he will have to leave his wife behind.


“I remember the very moment when I felt that there was something seriously wrong.

“I felt all my arms shaking and twitching, at that stage I’d no definite diagnosis of Motor Neurone and then four weeks later, bang, it came.”

He described his shock the moment he read a letter his consultant wrote for his GP which said “Charlie Bird has a terminal illness”.

"People have said to me ‘you’ve been so brave in your journalistic career’, but I’m being honest, I haven’t been very brave in this fight.


“I feel sorry for my wife Claire, I want to put my arms around her and protect her and make sure that whatever road she travels she’ll be okay.

“That makes me so upset that I’ll be leaving this relationship.”

Claire revealed that herself and Charlie try to stay positive, but both have their “dark days”.

Claire said: “He is emotional when he is here and it’s just the two of us. You can get caught up in your own thoughts. It’s overwhelming, it’s not about dying, it’s about how you’re going to die.”


Charlie Bird: Loud and Clear will premiere on Monday 13 June at 9.35pm on RTE One and RTE player.

Feature image via Sasko Lazarov/