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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Former teen idol Bobby Vee, who recorded a string of pop music hits in the 1960s, says he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Born Robert Velline 69 years ago in Fargo, N.D., Vee launched his singing career following the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "Big Bopper" Richardson while enroute to an appearance in Moorhead, Minn.

Vee and several classmates filled in for the trio in Moorhead, which led to Vee's first single "Suzie Baby," on Soma Records, a Minneapolis label.

On his website, Vee says he was diagnosed last year, but wanted to keep it private until now. The St. Paul Pioneer Press says Vee's wife of 48 years, Karen Velline, is also dealing with health issues. She's on a waiting list for a lung transplant.

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