Jet Li’s manager, Steven Chasman, has issued a statement to The Washington Post clarifying that the actor is not in poor health. Li’s health was called into question following the circulation of a photograph online in which the actor appears frail and unrecognizable. The photo caused many fans to pray for Li’s health on social media, but Chasman says Li is in good spirits and the photograph is just an unfortunate one.
“He has hyperthyroidism that he’s been dealing with for almost 10 years,” Chasman told The Post. “It’s nothing life-threatening and he’s dealing with it.”
Li was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism around 2010. The illness is a thyroid condition that causes fatigue and weight loss. The Post explains that hyperthyroidism occurs when “the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs.” These hormones “control the way the body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in your body, even the way your heart beats.” Approximately one out of every 100 people in the United States has hyperthyroidism.
Li’s mastery of martial arts made him one of China’s biggest box office draws in the U.S. and around the world for decades. His most popular films include “Kiss of the Dragon” and “Hero.” Li most recently appeared in “The Expendables” franchise, but he’s slowed down his acting career because of the illness and his time leading the One Foundation charity.
The actor is returning to the screen with a small supporting role as The Emperor in Disney’s live-action “Mulan.”