In its latest issue, on newsstands now, Kris Kristofferson’s closest friends open up to Closer Weekly about his miracle recovery after finally being diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease rather than Alzheimer’s disease, which he was originally misdiagnosed with.

“It’s like Lazarus coming out of the grave and being born again,” famed Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter and Kris’ good friend Chris Gantry tells Closer.

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Kris and friend Steven Tyler in December 2015.

Bucky Kahler, Kris’ best friend since middle school, agrees. “[Kris is] in great spirits,” he says. “He’s getting better and better. ”

MORE: Kris Kristofferson Reminisces About the Day He Met Johnny Cash!

Gantry, who has been close with Kris, 80, since they first met on the Nashville music scene in 1964, was heartbroken while his friend seemingly suffered from Alzheimer’s. “For the past six or seven years, there was this slow realization that he was becoming forgetful. It was apparent,” he says. “Kris alluded to it because he knew something was up. We all thought it was Alzheimer’s or dementia from old age.”

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Kris in March 2016.

In a twist no one saw coming, Kris was given his life back, thanks to a doctor’s relentless efforts to treat the star. Kris was not suffering from Alzheimer’s and had been misdiagnosed. His real problem was Lyme disease, which was mimicking some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Now that Kris has changed his treatments he has changed his life.

“Kris is as sharp as he’s been in the past 20 years because of his treatments,” a longtime pal tells Closer. “His wife, Lisa, and his eight children see a different Kris now. It really is a modern-day medical miracle.”

For more on Kris, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

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