Fans of martial arts superstar Jet Li Lianjie are praying for his health after shocking recent photos revealed the extent of his hyperthyroidism and spinal problems.
The Hollywood icon, who starred in Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die and more recently Expendables 2, revealed five years ago he has been suffering from hyperthyroidism.
A recent photo of him visiting a temple in Tibet has been widely circulated with many people taken aback by Li’s frail appearance. The photo also showed he had to be assisted while he walked.
Last year, the 55-year-old Beijing-born actor spoke about his illness after a long absence from the public eye at One Foundation’s charity dinner in the Chinese capital.
The actor then said he had been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in 2010 and although he took medication that kept his illness in check, the condition kept coming back.
Hyperthyroidism causes changes in a person’s metabolism and heart rate and is usually treated through medication. Li says his strong belief in Buddhism as well as meditation and scripture reading help stabilise his condition.
The action star also said a few years ago that he was unable to perform stressful physical activities due to his condition.
He revealed he had been warned by doctors in 2013 that he “would end up in a wheelchair” if he continued making physically-demanding action films.
He said at the time: “I’m just a regular guy. I’m not Wong Fei-hung. I’m not Huo Yuanjia [kung fu heroes he has portrayed on film]. I’m just like you.”
The star of the breakout Chinese classic Once Upon a Time in China said he was also suffering from leg and spinal problems and that he was unable to stand straight for too long, his poor health the result of decades of demanding film roles, stunts and injuries.