In an interview with Jane Pauley for CBS Sunday Morning, Michael J. Fox admitted that living with Parkinson’s disease is “getting harder” every day.
Fox, who was the subject of the Apple TV+ documentary Still earlier this year, described the incurable degenerative disease as “the gift that keeps on taking.” The Back to the Future actor retired from TV and film in 2021 because of his declining health. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 at age 29 but only publicly disclosed the news in 1998. “It’s been 30+ years, there’s not many of us that have had the disease for 30 years,” he shared. “It sucks, it sucks having Parkinson’s. For some families it’s a nightmare, it’s a living hell.”
Fox added that he’s fortunate enough to be able to live somewhat comfortably with Parkinson’s due to his wealth, but others aren’t as lucky. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting harder,” he said. “Every day gets tougher." Fox said he's suffered broken bones because of falls as a result of his Parkinson's, including his arms and his face. "It's falling, and aspirating food and pneumonia—all these subtle ways that [it] gets you," he said. "You don't die from Parkinson's. You die with Parkinson's. I'm not gonna be 80."
Fox described himself as an optimist, which has made it easier to live with the disease. "I recognize how hard this is for people, and I recognize how hard it is for me, but I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff," he continued. "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." In 2000, Fox launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help fund research for therapies and cures for Parkinson’s disease.
Last year, Fox reunited with his Back to the Future co-star Christopher Lloyd at New York Comic Con. “People like Chris have been there a lot for me, and so many of you have," Fox shared with the crowd. "It’s not about what I have, it’s about what I’ve been given—the voice to get this done, and help people out.”