Actor Chris Hemsworth is speaking out about recently learning that he is predisposed to Alzheimer's disease during the production of his NatGeo series Limitless.
The docuseries explores the perceived limits of the human body and ways humans can live better and longer. One episode saw Hemsworth taking a series of blood tests and then learning the results on-camera.
It was during the filming of this episode that he learned his genome includes two copies of the gene APOE4, giving him an eight- to ten-times higher chance of eventually developing Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease that slowly degrades memory, speech and motor skills.
See a clip of Hemsworth learning the news below.
In the clip, Hemsworth spoke candidly of how learning the difficult news made him feel:
“The idea that I won't be able to remember the life I've experienced or my wife, my kids, this is probably my biggest fear.”
He elaborated on this in a recent Vanity Fair interview, in which he said:
“Most of us, we like to avoid speaking about death. Then to all of a sudden be told some big indicators are actually pointing to this as the route which is going to happen, the reality of it sinks in. Your own mortality.”
But Hemsworth is also taking the news as a directive to live as full and healthy a life as he possibly can, as he told George Stephanopoulos during an appearance on Good Morning America.
Hemsworth told Stephanopoulos:
“It very quickly became another wonderful motivation to make some changes and arm myself with all the tools to live a healthier, better life.”
Hemsworth has also revealed that his grandfather is currently living with Alzheimer's, and described to Vanity Fair how it has affected him.
"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."
On Twitter, many were deeply moved by Hemsworth's candor about his situation.
Learning of his predisposition has also inspired Hemsworth to share some perspective with his fans:
"Live with as big a sense of gratitude and love for life as you can. You don't know when your time's up, you don't know what tomorrow holds, so live it to its fullest."