The tragic real-life story of Neil Young

In 1949, not long before he contracted polio, four-year-old Neil Young was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Also called “juvenile diabetes” because it’s historically beset children, it’s a hormonal disorder in which the body cannot regulate blood sugar because the pancreas doesn’t make insulin, according to JRDF. That means Young has been taking multiple daily insulin injections for over 70 years, as of this writing.

Too much insulin can lead to hypoglycemia attacks, or low blood sugar, which can present with shaking and a lack of body control. Young thought he was having such an episode in 1967. He was hanging out a radio festival called the Hollywood Teen Fair, when he suddenly found himself “on my back on the pavement,” as he wrote in Waging Heavy Peace. “I was having fun, and you know, maybe I’d forgotten to eat or something, I don’t know. And then I felt kind of sick to my stomach, and then I started to feel all weird and echoey, and then I fell down, and I don’t really…

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