MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors R. Rodney Howell, M.D., said in a statement Wednesday, "Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we're forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon."
This news conflicts with what Lewis said three months ago, when he promised to make one last appearance at the Labor Day event. "As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual Telethon since 1966, and I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'" he said in a May statement. "I'll continue to serve MDA as its National Chairman -- as I've done since the early 1950s. I'll never desert MDA and my kids."
Lewis had hosted the fundraising telethon for 45 years, raising more than $2.45 billion in that time, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Lewis has dedicated more than 900 hours of live television raising money for the MDA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy.