Shocking photos of martial arts icon Jet Li emerged online, revealing the extent of his reported ailment which has left him almost unrecognizable.
The photos, which features Li during a recent appearance in Tibet, have his fans worried after they went viral online.
Li Lianjie, the 55-year-old actor who is known for his memorable roles in Hollywood hits such as “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Fearless,” “Romeo Must Die,” and “The Expendables” film series, among many others, was reportedly suffering from hyperthyroidism and spinal problems.
The action legend was reportedly diagnosed with an overactive thyroid back in 2010 and has been struggling to keep his illness in check despite medication.
Li first spoke about his condition back in 2013 during a talent show taping he was judging in China.
“I’m just a regular guy, I’m not Wong Fei Hung, I’m not Huo Yuan Jia (kung fu heroes he portrays on film), I’m not a hero. I’m just like you,” Li was quoted by MailOnline as saying.
Observed to be in a heavier frame, Li joked about his weight gain, saying, “I’m fat, I don’t have the time to lose it. It’s a fact!”
Hyperthyroidism, which affects a person’s metabolism and heart rate, is usually treated with medication.
According to Li, his strong belief in Buddhism, along with meditation and reading scriptures have helped stabilize his condition.
Li stated in 2016 that he had recovered from his illness, denying that it was due to his health conditions that led him to accept fewer film offers. He explained that he has been declining acting roles so he can focus on his charity work.
“Getting in a philosophical frame of mind,” he told the Straits Times two years ago. “I feel what is important is the mindset. You can undergo cosmetic surgery to look younger, but what is the use if you think like an old person. But you can be 80 years old, be positive and still have a youthful outlook on life.”
Netizens expressed worry over the actor’s condition after his recent photo in Tibet became widely shared on social media, South China Morning Post reports.
“He was so active before and now he looks like an old man,” a Chinese commenter wrote.
“His kung fu is real and his films were great. Pity he’s suffering from this illness,” another netizen added.