Glen Campbell

photo courtesy NBC News

From Jake Whitman/Cynthia McFadden (NBC News)
As music legend Glen Campbell enters the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, his family is giving the world a rare glimpse inside his battle with the disease.

Campbell’s wife of 32 years, Kim Woolen, recently took NBC’s Cynthia McFadden to visit her 78-year-old husband at a full-time care facility in Nashville, where the entertainer has been living since March.

Despite the progression of the disease, Campbell brightens when he sees his wife and amazingly, can still play the guitar. Experts say Alzheimer's patients often communicate in their "first language" as the disease progresses — for Campbell that language is music.

The five-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Famer went public with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011, hoping to raise awareness about the devastating disease.

"We need to let people know about this disease, we need to do something about it," Woolen remembers her husband telling her at the time. "He really made himself vulnerable, because he wanted to make a difference."

Campbell has not performed in public since November of 2012. Today, his record label released his final studio recording: a heart-breaking ballad, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”

The single was recorded in January 2013 — just months after Campbell stopped performing in public.

Campbell’s wife tells McFadden that her husband’s doctors have told her he is now nearing the end of the 6th stage of Alzheimer’s, and requires 24-hour professional care. The disease is measured in 7 stages, with the last being the most severe.

"He's still Glen Campbell, and he still loves and feels and expresses joy and sadness," Woolen says. "I thank God each day that I have with him that he still knows who I am."

Campbell announced he would head out on a three-to-five-week goodbye tour, but ended up completing 151 concerts over a year and a half. The journey is chronicled in a soon-to-be- released documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me."

In scenes that will be both painful and familiar to the 5 million American families walking the same path, the film captures Campbell's struggles with memory loss.

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