Will Ferrell backs out of Reagan Alzheimer's comedy

Actor Will Ferrell will not play former President Ronald Reagan in a comedy about 'The Gipper' and Alzheimer's, according to various reports.

Heavy criticism has been aimed at Ferrell, 48, including from Reagan's family for a role that would make light of an incurable disease.

On Friday, Page Six and The Hollywood Reporter posted a statement from a spokesperson for Ferrell:

“The REAGAN script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means a ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”

A day earlier, Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, posted an open letter to Ferrell on her website urging him not to take part in the film.

"Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous... Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love. "

Reagan, the nation's 40th president, died in 2004 after a lengthy battle with the disease.