‘Not going to be 80’: Michael J Fox’s emotional admission

Michael J Fox has made heartbreaking admission about his 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, revealing “every day gets tougher”.

“I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting harder,” the Back to the Future star told CBS’s Sunday Morning in an emotional interview said.

“It’s getting tougher. Every day gets tougher. But that’s the way it is.”

Fox, now 61, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991. He told interviewer Jane Pauley the incurable degenerative disease was “the gift that keeps on taking”.

He said recent struggles – including breaking multiple bones in a fall, including some in his hand and his face – had made him think more about his own mortality. He told Pauley he also recently had spinal surgery for a benign tumour.

In 2020, when working on the TV legal drama The Good Fight, Fox found his memory was failing, a common problem driven by Parkinson’s progress. He couldn’t remember his lines.

“It got worse. I broke my cheek, then my hand, then my shoulder, had a replacement shoulder put in and broke my arm, then I broke my elbow. I’m 61 years old, and I’m feeling it a little bit more,” he told People magazine in 2022.

The Family Ties star said he had started to accept Parkinson’s could cause him to have a fatal accident at any time.

“Falling and aspirating food and getting pneumonia — all these subtle ways that get you,” he said.

“You don’t die from Parkinson’s, you die with Parkinson’s. So I’ve been thinking of the mortality of it. I’m not going to be 80.”

In April, Fox revealed he had been buoyed by a breakthrough in Parkinson’s research, funded by his Michael J. Fox Foundation and described by Fox as “a gigantic leap”. The culmination of more than a decade of research and hundreds of millions of dollars, it found that a key Parkinson’s pathology can be identified by examining spinal fluid from living patients, allowing earlier intervention.

Fox has said he was “deeply moved” by the breakthrough. Soon, he said, a young child might be able to simply get a nasal swab.

“It’s all changed. It can be known and treated early on. It’s huge,” he said.

Sunday’s emotional admission came in an interview to promote Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, a documentary about the star, his life and family,  and how living with Parkinson’s affects their day-to-day reality.

He told CBS he had had the disease for “30-plus years”, and that his “life is set up so that I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to”.

“I recognise how hard this is for people, and I recognise how hard it is for me, but I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff,” he told Pauley.

“I realise, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable.”

“If you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on,” he said.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie premieres on Apple TV+ on May 12.

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