Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhuru in the original broadcast series of 'Star Trek', has been diagnosed with "moderate progressive dementia", according to conservatorship documents filed by her doctor.
The documents details how Nichols, who is 85, is suffering from severe short-term memory loss and has moderate impairment of "understanding abstract concepts, sense of time, place and immediate recall." However, Dr. Meena Makhijani's filing states that Nichols has no apparent impairment with regards to her speech, motor functions, recognition of familiar people and ability to plan actions and reason out things logically.
Aside from playing Uhuru in 'Star Trek', Nichelle Nichols led one of NASA's most successful recruitment campaigns for women and minority groups in the '70s and '80s. Those recruited from her campaign included Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, Col. Guinon Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, and former NASA administrator Charles Bolden, also the first African-American to lead NASA.
Not only that, former US President Barack Obama was a massive fan of both her and 'Star Trek', and was photographed with Nichols at the Oval Office giving the famous Vulcan salute. Nichols was reportedly encouraged to continue playing Uhuru in 'Star Trek' by Martin Luther King, after she was considering quitting the show in its second season.
The role of Uhuru is currently played by Zoe Saldana in the rebooted movie series.