‘I’m not dead yet’: Action star Jet Li says in first public appearance in years
TAIWAN – The first words Jet Li said in his first public appearance in years were: “I’m not dead yet.”
The reclusive Chinese action superstar, 60, has been plagued by rumours of his death for years and a viral photo of a frail-looking Li, which surfaced about five years ago, did not help matters.
“There are still rumours in China saying that I’ve died. It’s been 10 years,” the Hero (2002) actor, looking hale and hearty, joked to the audience. He was at a press event in Taiwan on Nov 16 where he promoted his biography, Beyond Life And Death: Jet Li Looking For Jet Li.
Laughing at the rumours, Li said he was surprised that people actually believed the gossip. “Some people wish it’s true. Some say, ‘He’s still not dead yet? After so many reports of his death, he’s still not actually dead’.”
But he admitted he was in poor health about a decade ago.
During the filming of the 2010 drama Ocean Heaven, where he played a father living with liver cancer, Li’s weight dropped drastically due to a lack of appetite and netizens attributed it to cancer in real life.
It was later confirmed that Li had hyperthyroidism, a condition that can cause fatigue and weight loss. He keeps it under control with medication.
Li, who has no social media presence, hoped his book will offer readers an insight into his spiritual journey and how he has lived his life all these years.
Best known for playing Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung in the Once Upon A Time In China film series (1991 to 1997), Li also touched on the Covid-19 pandemic, offering advice to those who suffered from mental health issues over the past three years.
Calling himself an optimist, he said: “Every negative can be turned into a positive and the process turns worries into enlightenment.”