Star Trek fans across the globe are stunned at the news that Star Trek’s Spock has the lung disease known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known as COPD. Concern for the 82-year-old actor grew when pictures surfaced of him in a wheelchair and attached to an oxygen bottle.
COPD generally describes a wide range of chronic lung diseases that can include conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema and can get worse over time. The venerable actor and director, who most recently hit the silver screen in Star Trek: Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams’ second foray into the Star Trek universe, tweeted the news of his condition via Twitter on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Nimoy admitted that he generally feels well, but has noted that walking long distances is now a challenge. He says he quit smoking over three decades ago, and is cautioning his fans to quit smoking sooner rather than later. It’s believed that COPD is caused, at least in part, by smoking.
Nimoy continues to maintain a fairly active schedule, having just taped comments for Star Trek Fest, to be aired on EPIX Feb. 16. He continues to make occasional television appearances as well and enjoyed a resurgence of his popularity after making several appearances on Fringe a couple of years ago. More recently, he appeared in an alternative video for Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song, where he mocked co-star William Shatner and the potential view that he was a curmudgeonly sort of aging star.
While he’d shunned his connection to Star Trek’s beloved pointy-eared Vulcan several years ago, he acknowledged his connection with the character in the book I Am Spock, a follow-up to his original work, I Am Not Spock. He has admitted in the past to being reluctant to embrace the fan following that has followed Spock, but then realized that to downplay his connection to Spock would be akin to ignoring a part of who he has become. When invited to don the ears another time in J.J. Abrams’ reboot, he leapt at the chance to help usher in Star Trek to a whole new legion of fans.
He’s now using his power as Star Trek’s Spock to encourage people to stop smoking so they don’t end up diagnosed, as he is, with lung disease. He said, via Twitter, that after diagnosis is too late to quit smoking, and encourages his fans to stop smoking before receiving a deadly diagnosis.
He did, however, impart his warning with his usual tongue-in-cheek sort of humor that his fans have come to know him for. He implored fans to listen to “Grandpa” and learn his lesson. He signed off his Twitter message with his traditional ‘LLAP’ – Live Long and Prosper, the standard Vulcan greeting that was popularized during Star Trek’s original run from 1966 to 1969.
The news that Spock of Stark Trek fame has lung disease can only be met with dismay. The outlook for those with COPD varies; those who have been diagnosed early with the condition have the potential to see their symptoms improve, depending on treatment options, while those who have been diagnosed late in the condition will be faced with worsening lung function. It can only be hoped that Nimoy falls into the former category and not the latter.
By Christina St-Jean
NBC New York