Ortiz's wife, veteran entertainer Charytin Goyco, reveals the 80 year old has been battling the degenerative disease for some time, but his condition really started to deteriorate in 2011.

Goyco, 66, claims the couple's close family and friends have known all about his illness as he receives special care around the clock, but it's time his fans were made aware of his condition too.

She admits dealing with Ortiz's ailment has taken its toll on her and even though he now struggles to recognise his own wife, she refuses to let the disease get her down.

She tells El Nuevo Dia newspaper, "Elin is a physically strong man, but his mind is not. For me it has been a very hard and long process, but I come from... a very sad childhood, and nothing can take away my joyful spirit because I promised myself never to be a sad person."

Goyco continues, "He no longer recognises (me). He smiles at me all the time but does not say anything, does not recognise me, but he knows I'm there. Then I smile all the time and he answers me because I feel that in your heart you know who I am."