Michael J. Fox Doesn't Think He'll Live to Age 80

Michael J. Fox shared an update on his Parkinson's disease, predicting that he will not make it to 80. The Back to the Future star, who recently received an honorary Oscar for his work to raise awareness of the disease, told CBS Sunday Morning's Jane Pauley that he has broken several bones as the symptoms get worse. Fox, 61, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991 and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000.

In his interview with Pauley, Fox called Parkinson's a "gift that keeps on taking," leading Pauley to note that it has "taken a little bit more of something" each time she sees him. "It's been 30+ years; not many of us that have had this disease for 30 years," Fox said. "It sucks having Parkinson's."

He called the disease a "nightmare" and a "living hell" for families. "They have to deal with realities that are beyond most people's understandings," he said before admitting that his life is "set up" so he can "pack Parkinson's along with me" if he has to. "It's banging on the door. Yeah, I mean, I'm not gonna lie," he said. "It's gettin' hard, it's gettin' harder. It's gettin' tougher. Every day it's tougher. But, but that's, that's the way it is. I mean, you know, who do I see about that?"

Fox recently had spinal surgery after a benign tumor was discovered. It "messed up" his walking, which then led to him breaking bones. "Broke this arm, and I broke this arm, I broke this elbow. I broke my face. I broke my hand," he said. Pauley asked him if these injuries were caused by his falling on things. He noted that people don't usually die from Parkinson's, but with Parkinson's.

"Which is a big killer with Parkinson's. It's falling and aspirating food and getting pneumonia," Fox said. "All these subtle ways that gets ya'. You don't die from Parkinson's; you die with Parkinson's. I'm not gonna be 80. I'm not gonna be 80."

It's hard to think about the 1980s without images of Fox coming to mind. Whether it's Teen Wolf, Back to the Future, or Family Ties, so many memories for movies and television fans involve Fox. He's now embracing that role, even recently watching Back to the Future again for the first time in 30 years. His wife, Tracy Pollan. was surprised to find him watching himself as Marty McFly.

"I sat down on the sofa. Like, four or five minutes later, Tracy goes, 'What are you doing? Where are you?' And I said, Back to the Future's on,'" Fox recalled. "She said, 'You're watching Back to the Future?' And I said, 'Yeah, you know, I'm really good in this!'"

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised $1.5 billion for Parkinson's disease research. Earlier this month, the foundation announced a biomarker for Parkinson's. This is a "biological test for Parkinson's disease that demonstrates high diagnostic accuracy, differentiates molecular subtypes, and detects disease in individuals before cardinal movement symptoms arise," according to the foundation. Fox told Pauley this "changes everything" when it comes to treating the disease.

"I recognize how hard this is for people, and I recognize how hard it is for me," Fox, who kept his humor on display with Pauley, said. "But I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff. And I realized, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable. And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on."

Fox is the subject of a new Apple TV+ documentary, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie. It is available to stream on May 12.