Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has revealed that she was recently diagnosed with begin in the early stages of Dementia.
According to Huffpost, O'Connor — who broke barriers as the first woman to ever serve on America's highest court — also shared that it's possible her dementia could advance to Alzheimer's disease.
"As this condition has progressed, I am no longer able to participate in public life," 88-year-old O'Connor said in a statement. "Since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts."
O'Conner also used her statement as an opportunity to speak about iCivics, an online education program that uses computer games to help teach middle school and high school students about civics.
"We must reach all our youth, and we need to find ways to get people ― young and old ― more involved in their communities and in their government," the retired Supreme Court Justice said. "As my three sons are tired of hearing me say, 'It's not enough to understand, you've got to do something.' There is no more important work than deepening young people's engagement in our nation."
"It is time for new leaders to make civic learning and civic engagement a reality for all," she later added, per CNN. "I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers."
O'Conner — who left the Supreme Court in 2006 — also explained that she will "continue living in Phoenix, Arizona surrounded by dear friends and family," and that "while the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings of my life."
Notably, O'Connor's son, Jay O'Connor, previously spoke to the press about his mother, revealing that she has been dealing with debilitating issues for some time time now.
"When she hit about 86 years old she decided that it was time to slow things down, that she'd accomplished most of what she set out to do in her post-retirement years, that she was getting older physically and her memory was starting to be more challenging, so the time came to dial back her public life," he stated.
Current Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has since spoken out about O'Connor's news, calling her a "towering figure" and a "role model not only for girls and women, but for all those committed to equal justice under law."