Michael J Fox admits living with Parkinson’s is ‘getting harder’: ‘I’m not gonna be 80’

‘Back to The Future’ star was diagnosed with the condition in 1991

Maanya Sachdeva
Saturday 29 April 2023 15:29 BST
Michael J. Fox gets candid about Parkinson's battle in trailer for new documentary

Michael J Fox has shared an update about his health condition, admitting that living with Parkinson’s disease is “getting tougher” every day.

Fox, 61, was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder in 1991 at the age of 29. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms include hand tremors, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, as well as speech changes.

Fox revealed his diagnosis seven years later, in 1998, and announced he was entering a “second retirement” in 2020.

In a new interview with Jane Pauley for CBS Mornings, the Back to the Future star reflected on his mortality while battling an incurable disease.

“At some point, Parkinson’s going to make the call for you, isn’t it?” Pauley asked Fox, who founded a charity which works towards finding a cure for the disorder.

Fox responded: “ Yeah, it’s banging on the door. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting harder. It’s getting tougher. Every day it gets tougher, but that’s the way it is.

“I mean, who do I see about that?”

He reportedly added: “You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s. So I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. I’m not gonna be 80. I’m not gonna be 80.”

Under a clip of the interview, posted to CBS Mornings’ Twitter account, fans shared their support for Fox and celebrated his courage.

One person wrote: “He’s been absolutely heroic through all of this. He’s looked forward, leading the drive to fund research that will probably not solve this disease until it’s too late for him.”

Another person commended the retired actor’s “positive outlook”, while a third said the clip “makes my heart hurt”.

Earlier this month, Fox admitted having a “terrible year” with the disease, as he faced several challenges including breaking multiple bones due to a fall.

However, he acknowledged that research funded by the Michael J Fox foundation had led to an important discovery about the disease.

Researchers discovered that the presence of alpha-synuclein, which is used to diagnose Parkinson’s, can be found by looking at people’s spinal fluid. This means the disease can be detected and treated much sooner.

“It’s all changed. It can be known and treated early on. It’s huge,” Fox said. “This is the thing,” he said. “This is the big reward. This is the big trophy.”

Following the screening of his film STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie at the South by Southwest Film Festival last month, Fox was asked how he “mobilised” people to care about Parkinson’s.

“I didn’t have a choice,” he said, per People. “This is it. I have to give everything I have, and it’s not lip service. I show up and do the best I can.”

The full interview with Fox will be broadcast on CBS on Sunday 30 April.

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