Michael J. Fox is grateful for the life he lives — even if that means having to wrestle with Parkinson’s disease for decades.
The “Back to the Future” star opened up about his health condition Tuesday while promoting his new documentary, “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
“Parkinson’s sucks — but it’s a great life,” said Fox, 61, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 29 in 1991.
“I have no regrets,” he said, sitting alongside his new film’s director Davis Guggenheim, 59, of Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” fame.
“You do what you have to do, but you do not want to kill yourself. And that’s when I stopped.”
When asked how he “mobilized” people to have awareness of the degenerative central nervous system disorder, Fox said he simply “didn’t have a choice.”
“This is it,” he said during a Q&A for the film, which will stream later this year on Apple TV+. “I have to give everything I have, and it’s not lip service. I show up and do the best I can.”
“Pity is a benign form of abuse,” the actor continued. “I can feel sorry for myself, but I don’t have time for that.”
“There is stuff to be learned from this, so let’s do that and move on,” he added.
The Canada-born actor thanked his fans for their support throughout his career, saying, “My fans have basically given me my life.”
“I wanted to give these people who have done so much for me my time and gratitude,” he added. “It was great for me to hear from all of you.”
In 2000, Fox opened the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research — a move that has helped many find the help and support they need throughout their respective battles with the disease.
He disclosed his medical battle in 1998 after paparazzi “heckled” him into doing so.
In 2021, Fox opened up to “Entertainment Tonight” about how the paparazzi forced him to disclose his diagnosis to the public.
“It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed … [and] the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ” Fox explained.
“I said, ‘I can’t be making my neighbors deal with this,’ so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing.”
“It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded,” Fox went on.
“They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn’t get put in this position to squander it.”
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