Jet li’s disease: Martial arts superstar Jet Li has spent the last few years away from the spotlight, but a recent photo reportedly of the action star with a fan has fueled speculation that his health is declining.
In a snap taken of Li with a fan in Tibet that surfaced Saturday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the 55-year-old martial art star smiles for the camera but looks frail. The man he poses with uses one of his hands to support the actor’s arms, which he crosses in front of his body.
Li, who appeared in major Hollywood films such as 1998’s “Lethal Weapon 4” and 2012’s “The Expendables 2,” was photographed visiting a temple in Tibet donning glasses and a shaved head, South China Morning Post reported. The 55-year-old appeared to need assistance while walking.
“He has hyperthyroidism that he’s been dealing with for almost 10 years. It’s nothing life-threatening and he’s dealing with it. I guess it’s sensationalism,” the star’s manager Steven Chasman told The Washington Post.
“He was so active before and now he looks like an old man,” one person was quoted telling South China Morning Post.
Another person said, “His kung fu is real and his films were great. Pity he’s suffering from this illness.”
“I couldn’t even recognize him,” one person added.
Fans were shocked to see Li’s frail appearance. Li revealed in 2013 he was suffering from a slew of health issues, including hyperthyroidism, spinal problems and a heart condition. He was first diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in 2010 and took medication to control it.
“Either [I] continue making [action] films or spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair,” Li revealed at the time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Serious injuries he previously suffered to his legs and spine also affected his movement. He said he couldn’t stand for a prolonged period of time without hunching.
In the last few years, Li has dedicated most of his time to charity work. A devout Buddhist, Li said his religious belief, meditation and scripture reading helped his condition.