WASHINGTON, February 6, 2014 — Beloved “Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy revealed he is suffering from chronic lung disease.
COPD, which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a potentially fatal lung disease which gradually makes it more difficult to breathe.
Nimoy’s illness was revealed in a Twitter post after the 82 year old was seen in a wheelchair in New York last month. The post stated “I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP (Live long and prosper).”
Nimoy is frail and he has been seen using oxygen.
Leonard Nimoy began acting in 1951 and despite having been cast in more than 100 different roles in his lifetime, he is best known for his role as the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer “Spock” on both the television and film version of the science-fiction series “Star Trek.”
After the first “Star Trek” pilot was filmed in 1964, NBC executives made the unusual move to pay for a second pilot. They were interested in the show, but not as it was presented in the original form. Only one character was brought over to the second pilot from the first. That character was that of Dr. Spock played by Nimoy.
Although he received accolades for his work on the stage after the cancellation of the original “Star Trek” TV series, Nimoy remained associated with his Spock character.
In 2011, Nimoy retired from playing Spock in part due to his advancing age and also to allow Zachary Quinto, who had been cast in the role as a younger version in modern films, to be seen as the only Spock.
COPD is a progressive disease most often caused by cigarette smoking, although long term exposure to air pollutants can also be a cause.
The symptoms of COPD are similar to asthma but unlike asthma, COPD does not improve significantly with medication. Its chronic cough and difficulty with breathing worsen in patients over time and can ultimately lead to death.
Although there is no cure for the disease, it can be managed with supplemental oxygen and pain killers such as morphine to assist with the feelings of being short of breath when it becomes severe.
As Leonard Nimoy expressed in his Twitter feed, the best thing to do in the fight against COPD is to quit smoking.
Tonight Trekkies will be paraphrasing the words of Spock himself, “You have been and always will be… our friend.”