Michael J. Fox says he won't make it to 80 amid battle with Parkinson's
By Steve Hopkins
‘You don’t die from Parkinson’s - you die with Parkinson’s’
Michael J. Fox has given a heartbreaking insight into his life with Parkinson’s and predicted he won’t make it to age 80.
The Back to the Future star told CBS News Sunday Morning that he’s been thinking about mortality associated with the disease he’s been living with for 30 years.
“It’s banging on the door,” Fox told CBS’ Jane Pauley in a preview for the interview that airs this weekend.
“I mean, I’m not gonna lie. It’s getting hard … it’s getting tougher. Every day it’s tougher. But that’s the way it is. I mean, you know, who do I see about that?”
A movie about Fox’s life, STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie, is due to air on Apple TV on May 12.
The actor, 61, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 29.
Parkinson’s is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years, the NHS states, with the most widely known symptom being involuntary shaking.
The diagnosis, Fox recalled, was “scary”. The star was still fresh off the successes of the ‘Back to the Future’ franchise – the first came out in 1985, part three, in 1990- and sitcom, ‘Family Ties’, so didn’t slow down.
He starred in six seasons of the political comedy ‘Spin City,’ voiced ‘Stuart Little,’ and played the titular character in NBC’s short-lived ‘Michael J. Fox Show’. He also appeared in supporting roles in ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘Designated Survivor’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’
In 2018, Fox underwent spinal surgery to remove a tumour, unrelated to Parkinson’s, and his health has deteriorated ever since. He’s had to learn to walk again.
Fox told CBS: “It messed up my walking … and then, started to break stuff.
“Broke this arm, and I broke this arm, I broke this elbow, I broke my face. I broke my hand.”
Fox explained to CBS how falling is a “big killer” for people with Parkinson’s, as is “aspirating food and getting pneumonia.”
He said: “All these subtle ways that get ya. You don’t die from Parkinson’s — you die with Parkinson’s.”
The day-to-day struggles have prompted Fox to think about his own mortality, and he told CBS, “I’m not gonna be 80. I’m not gonna be 80.”
In November, Fox received an honorary Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease.
Woody Harrelson, who presented the award, told the crowd: “Michael J. Fox never asked for the role: Parkinson’s patient or disease advocate. But make no mistake, it is his greatest performance.”
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