Leonard Nimoy Reveals Lung Disease Caused By Smoking

By McCarton Ackerman 02/10/14

The legendary Star Trek actor revealed that he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease despite having quit smoking 30 years ago.

Nimoy in 2013. Shutterstock

Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series and subsequent films, revealed that he has developed a potentially fatal lung disease caused by decades of smoking.

The 82-year-old was seen last month looking physically frail as he was pushed in a wheelchair in New York City. He later revealed on Twitter that his failing health was caused by COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough,” he tweeted. “I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP (Live Long And Prosper)."

COPD is primarily caused by smoking and makes it increasingly difficult for a person to breathe due to airflow obstruction or the narrowing of their airways. The disease also quadruples the risk of lung cancer while greatly increasing the risk of respiratory failure and cardiovascular disease. But while there is no known cure, aggressive early intervention typically slows its progress.

Nimoy retired from Star Trek conventions in 2011, but has continued to work despite his failing health. Last year, he played Dr. William Bell in sci-fi thriller Fringe and also made a cameo appearance in the Star Trek film Into Darkness. He will also make an appearance during a marathon of Star Trek shows being shown on EPIX later this month.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.