Li Lianjie, or better yet known as Jet Li, is a Chinese actor who is known for being a Wushu champion as well as a martial artist and film producer. The native of Beijing has been in films such as Fist of Legend, Fearless, The Expendables 3 and Kiss of the Dragon. According to CNN, Jet Li was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid back in 2010, but it was in 2013 when the 55-year-old actor admitted publicly that he was battling this disease. Now recently, a picture of the actor looking frail has been making the rounds online, worrying fans.
The recent photo went viral after it showed the 55-year-old looking much older than his actual age with a stooped posture and sparse white hair over his head. Many fans on the Chinese social media site Weibo, as well as other forms of social media, commented on the fact that it was a symptom of his declining health while others simply stated that the picture was a product of poor lighting.
It was during the production of a Chinese talent show in 2013 when Jet Li said: ‘I’m just a regular guy, I’m not Wong Fei Hung, I’m not Huo Yuan Jia [kung fu masters he portrays on film] I’m not a hero. I’m just like you. I’m in pain, but I’m not suffering. I’m happy.’
Hyperthyroidism is a condition whereby the thyroid gland produces too much of a hormone called thyroxine. If left untreated, this condition can lead to heart failure, sudden weight loss, and an increased heart rate. According to a study conducted by researchers from the China Medical University back in 2010, the disease affects around 1 percent of the global population and 1.6 percent of the Chinese urban population.
In an article done by The Hollywood Reporter, Jet Li was reported to have said that his doctor told him: ‘You can either continue making films or spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.’ But it doesn’t look like the actor is letting his condition affect his livelihood. Recently, as reported by the South China Morning Post, Jet Li revealed a picture of himself visiting a temple in Chengdu, and not Tibet, as it was previously reported.
Jet Li then went on the Chinese social media network Weibo to thank his fans for their concern and to state that the photo made him look ‘80 years old.’ However, it was on his personal Facebook account where he said that he was ‘doing great [and] feeling great.’ He wrote: ‘I would like to thank all my fans who have expressed concern about my health. I’m doing great and feeling great! I’m excited to share with you a few projects I am working on in the near future. For now, thank you all for your concern!’
Jet Li’s manager, Steven Chasman, addressed the concerns in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this week. ‘He has hyperthyroidism that he’s been dealing with for almost 10 years. It’s nothing life-threatening and he’s dealing with it. He’s all well and good.’ Jet Li, who hasn’t appeared in many films over the past five years, was recently in a short film with Jack Ma, who is the founder of the giant e-commerce website known as Alibaba. Jet Li’s manager also went on to say that the actor is currently in talks to appear as the emperor of China in Disney’s live-action production of Mulan, set to arrive in theaters by 2020.