Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced Monday that he is battling Parkinson's disease.

Rendell -- Pennsylvania's two-term governor from 2003 through 2010 -- said the original diagnosis of early onset Parkinson's was made three and a half years ago.

"I always viewed myself as indestructible," Rendell, 74, said during a press conference at Pennsylvania Hospital.

"I always viewed myself as indestructible."

— Ed Rendell

Rendell also told reporters that his mother suffered from the disease during the last 13 years of her life.

Rendell said he wanted to make his diagnosis public so that he could stress to others the importance of catching the disease in its early stages.

"It turns out I wasn't indestructible, none of us are," Rendell said. "But I can be helped. All of us can be."

Rendell said treatment at the hospital, including medication, has stopped the progression of the symptoms and that he continues to keep a busy schedule, including working out six days a week.

Rendell was also the Democratic National Committee chairman and a two-term Philadelphia mayor who garnered the nickname "America's mayor."

He said he first noticed problems with his balance and his hands shaking 3 1/2 years ago, when family members urged him to get it checked out.

Parkinson's involves a loss of brain cells controlling movement. Besides tremors, it can cause rigid, halting walking, slowed speech and sometimes dementia. Symptoms worsen over time and can be treated with drugs, but there is no cure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.