Michael J. Fox has made one thing clear amid his difficult 32-year Parkinson’s battle — he is not afraid of dying. The Back to the Future actor explained why he has no fear of death after experiencing several challenges while fighting the degenerative condition.
“One day I’ll run out of gas,” he said in an interview with Town & Country on November 2. “One day I’ll just say, ‘It’s not going to happen. I’m not going out today.’ If that comes, I’ll allow myself that. I’m 62 years old. Certainly, if I were to pass away tomorrow, it would be premature, but it wouldn’t be unheard of. And so, no, I don’t fear that.”
The Family Ties alum often describes himself as a “tough son of a bitch.” Michael, 62, was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 when he was 29 years old. He went public with his diagnosis in 1998.
“When I went public, I felt like I stood there naked in the town square and said, ‘Look at me. This is what it is,’” he reflected. “What I didn’t realize was how many other people had been dying to do that.”
His condition has progressed since then, leading him to take pills to help him speak clearly and fight the paralysis of his facial muscles. On top of his Parkinson’s symptoms, Michael experienced a few severe injuries while fighting the disorder.
In 2018, the sitcom star underwent surgery to remove a spinal tumor that threatened to paralyze him. During his recovery from the procedure, he tripped and fell at home, causing him to break his arm. In the years that followed, Michael broke his other arm and shoulder, shattered his orbital bone and cheek and broke his hand, the latter of which was particularly distressing.
“My hand got infected, and then I almost lost it,” he recalled. “It was a tsunami of misfortune.”
“I’ve said Parkinson’s is a gift,” the Teen Wolf actor told the outlet. “It’s the gift that keeps on taking, but it has changed my life in so many positive ways.”
Michael continues to take things “one day at a time” as he continues to face the central nervous system disorder head-on.
“You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s. I’m not going be 80,” he told People in May, adding, “I live for each moment, and I love each day.”