STRICKEN Fernando Ricksen has accepted he’s dying – after admitting his health’s deteriorating rapidly.
The Rangers legend, 41, knows his condition is terminal unless there’s a miracle cure for motor neurone disease.
He said the strength in his neck and arms have deteriorated over the last year, but vowed to keep on fighting.
Speaking on the fourth anniversary of his diagnosis, Ricksen said: “I know what the outcome will be of this terminal disease, but I’m not going to waste any time or energy worrying about future.
“I’m realistic and know that, at the moment, there is no cure for MND.
“But the outlook hasn’t changed and is still terminal and there are no new treatments at the moment.
“I’m not going down without a fight and will never give up.
“I certainly don’t expect to die soon and I’m still making plans for the future.
I’m not going down without a fight and will never give up.”
“I’m still convinced I’ll be the first person to beat MND.”
Ricksen broke down on Dutch TV while telling the world he had the muscle-wasting condition in 2013.
He’s since lost the ability to perform many basic functions and the disease has also badly affected his speech.
He now has to use a wheelchair and admits the last year of his battle has been the most troubling, as he has to rely on other people more regularly.
But he admits getting a feeding tube called a PEG in his stomach so water and medication can be given without swallowing has boosted him.
The Dutch star said: “Everyday living with MND is difficult, but the longer you live it, the harder it gets.
“Every day you lose abilities to do things yourself and become more depended on the people around you. For me that’s very difficult.
“The most visible changes for me in the last year in a negative way have been in my neck and arms.
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“The most positive has been getting a PEG put in my stomach as it makes it easier to take liquids and medicine.”
When asked about the most frustrating part of his last year, he joked: “That I can’t drink coffee myself anymore & seeing Celtic win the League again.”
Ricksen now lives in Spain with wife Veronika, 31, and daughter Isabella, four, as the hot weather helps with the condition.
It’s understood that he’s set to be a guest of honour at Ibrox for the club’s game against Hamilton Accies on November 18.
The genius scientist, 75, was given five years to live when diagnosed with MND in 1963, and the Dutchman revealed he dreamed of emulating him.
The ex-Rangers captain said: “I know most people with MND die within three to five years but just look at Stephen Hawking – he is still here. Let me be the new Hawking.”
This content was originally published here.