Legendary actor James Earl Jones has now turned 90, but what fans may not know is that he has been dealing with a chronic health issue for decades.
James Earl Jones is now 90 years old, and over 25 years ago he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects over 30 million Americans. At the time Jones was in his mid-sixties, and apparently in good health.
He was, however, a little overweight so he attended a center for weight control and diet. One day while working out at the gym, Jones fell asleep. One of the doctors noticed and thought something might be wrong.
Kames Earl Jones at "The Gin Game" Broadway opening night after party in 2015 in New York City | Source: Getty Images
The doctor's intuition served him well and possibly saved Jones' life. Tests revealed that the actor was suffering from type 2 diabetes. His discovery forced Jones to become more aware of his own body. He revealed:
"Usually with low blood sugar, it's easy to notice. With high blood sugar, it's not as easy, and that can be the most dangerous aspect of type 2 diabetes."
James Earl Jones, wife Cecelia Hart and son Flynn Earl Jones at the 2012 Marian Anderson awards gala in 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Source: Getty Images
DEALING WITH DIABETES
Jones had to learn to live with diabetes, and for him, the most important factor was to keep himself as active as ever, acting in plays, making movies, and starring in TV shows.
In order to do so, he counted on the help and support of his family, his wife actress Cecilia Hart, and his son, Flynn Earl Jones, as well as his doctors, who keep him on the straight and narrow.
Despite his type 2 diabetes, Jones is hale and healthy, and on January 17 2021 he celebrated his 90th birthday.
Jones admitted that he finds it hard to keep himself on a sugar-free diet, especially since he has a notorious sweet tooth. The "Lion King" actor has revealed that he sometimes finds the restrictions frustrating.
Jones confessed that he is sometimes tempted to sneak a sweet treat, but since his family is aware of his weakness, they keep a close eye on him, and always manage to catch him out.
Another key to keeping healthy with type 2 diabetes is regular and vigorous exercise. Jones chooses to keep fit by taking long walks outdoors with his family, especially in spring and summer.
During the colder months, Jones keeps to a regular exercise routine in a gymnasium. His physical fitness has allowed him to keep his diabetes under control, and to continue working, even though he is now 90.
Jones pointed out that when dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes it is important to be aware that some sufferers can be subject to depression and alterations in behavior. He said:
"I do notice when I'm fatigued — it's like I'm in a daze. But I've had to learn to distinguish when that becomes depression."
Despite his type 2 diabetes, Jones is hale and healthy, and on January 17 2021 he celebrated his 90th birthday. The day was marked by many of his former costars, including Mark Hamill.
The official "Star Wars" Instagram page and Lucas Film wished the original, unforgettable Darth Vader a happy birthday. Like Hamill, who was Vader's son in the "Star Wars" saga shared several photos of himself and Jones.
COMING TO AMERICA AGAIN
Jones may be 90 but he is still working. In fact, he has a movie scheduled to premiere in March 2021. It is the sequel to the 1988 John Landis romantic comedy, "Coming To America."
The new movie "Coming 2 America" stars Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and of course, James Earl Jones, reprising his role from the first movie as King Jaffe of Zamunda, Crown Prince Akeem's father.
We wish James Earl Jones a very happy birthday and hope he will remain in fine fettle, and his diabetes under control, and keep delighting us with his wonderful work for many more years.
Sadly, Jones lost his beloved wife of 36 years, actress Cecilia Hart to ovarian cancer. Hart was 68 years old, and the couple shared a son, Flynn Earl Jones, who is now 38.
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