Chris Hemsworth shared some heartbreaking news regarding his health and career in a recent interview.
For his latest Disney+ series, Limitless, the Australian actor underwent some genetic testing for the show–a docuseries that explores “a different way we can live better for longer,” according to IMDB–during which the 39-year-old said the results revealed “my biggest fear.”
After learning that he has two copies of the gene APOE4–which studies have linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease–one from each of his parents, the actor told Vanity Fair he would take a break from acting.
One in four people carry a single copy of the gene, but only 2 to 3% of the population have two copies like Hemsworth, according to a 2021 study by the National Institutes of Health.
Hemsworth explained to interviewers that this makes him eight to 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. As devastating as the news may be, the actor said it wasn’t surprising since his grandfather is currently battling the disease.
“I haven’t seen him in a few years, but my other family members have, and there’s some days where he’s quite joyful and gives you a big hug. But my mum was saying he’s just a really friendly guy. I’m not sure he actually remembers much anymore, and he slips in, and out of Dutch, which is his original language, so he’ll be talking Dutch and English and then a mash-up and then maybe some other new words as well,” he told the outlet.
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He said the information isn’t “handing him his resignation letter,” but it’s somewhat of a wake-up call.
“If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life,” Hemsworth told reporters. “When you have preposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything—it’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”
When asked how working on Limitless has affected his work ethic, Hemsworth agreed that it’s changed how much he takes on and has made him a pickier artist.
“Doing an episode on death and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh God, I’m not ready to go yet.’ I want to sit and be in this space with a greater sense of stillness and gratitude. And then you start talking about kids and family and going, ‘Oh my God, they’re getting older, they’re growing up, and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie.’ Before you know it, they’re 18, and they’ve moved out of house, and I missed the window,” he said.
“It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off,” Hemsworth explained, adding, “And since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do. Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home, and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
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