Ryan Reynolds shares emotional tribute to Michael J. Fox

Ryan Reynolds wrote a tribute to Michael J. Fox for TIME that will bring a tear to your eye.

Reynolds began his Instagram post, which he said he wrote for the annual Time 100, by saying he knows Fox pretty well.

“He’s funny. He’s warm. He’s handsome and intensely smart,” he wrote. “He also falls a lot. Not just because he has Parkinson’s. He falls a lot because he’s unafraid to fly.”

Reynolds revealed he “met Mike 17 years ago.” And he’s “watched him raise the bar for purpose and passion,” adding that it would be “lazy” of him to characterize Fox “as the greatest champion of Parkinson’s research on the planet. He’s someone who helped my dad, along with millions of others, feel less alone.”

“It’d be kinda lazy to simply regard him as a movie star who shaped the lives of people all over the planet with a uniquely electric wit and self-aware charm,” Reynolds wrote. “He’s the sum of these beautiful parts. And so many more.”

As Reynolds continued, he reminisced about watching “Back to the Future” with his 8-year-old daughter. “It’s become her favourite film. And for now, that’s enough for me—and her. One more kid from one more generation sees what I saw.”

His daughter, Reynolds admits, has no idea that he’s friends with the star of her favorite movie. But he said that if Fox has taught him anything about being a parent it’s that he doesn’t need to teach his daughter “the level of compassion Mike has mastered. Or teach her to tell stories the way Mike tells stories. I need to teach her that it’s OK to fall a lot. It’s the absolute best way to know you’re flying.”

One year ago, Michael J. Fox opened up about living with Parkinson’s disease. In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Fox revealed that life “is getting tougher. Every day it’s tougher.”

Now, Fox believes he can see his future. And he admits he doesn’t think he will live to see his 80th year.

“My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to,” Fox told host Jane Pauley before she asked if Parkinson’s will “make the call” at some point. Fox heartbreakingly replied, saying, “Yeah, it’s banging on the door.”

“Yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna lie. It’s gettin’ hard, it’s gettin’ harder. It’s gettin’ tougher. Every day it’s tougher. That’s, that’s the way it is. I mean, you know, who do I see about that? …”

Fox also opened up about additional health issues he faced head-on in addition to living with Parkinson’s. “I had spinal surgery. I had a tumor on my spine.”

While the tumor was thankfully “benign,” the surgery “messed up my walking.”

In addition to the tumor, Fox dealt with several broken bones as well, revealing that he’s fractured his arm, elbow, hand, and face as a result of falling. Fox revealed that falling is “a big killer” when it comes to life with Parkinson’s.

“It’s falling ... and aspirating food and getting pneumonia. All these subtle ways that gets ya. You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s. So -- so I’ve been -- I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it. ... I’m not gonna be 80. I’m not gonna be 80.”

Back in June 2022, Fox also talked on Mike Birbiglia’s Working It Out about the symptoms he lives with on a daily basis. Fox, at the time, shared that Parkinson’s has left him with tremors, speech difficulty and muscle rigidity. Additionally, and perhaps the most surprising of them all, Parkinson’s has also left him without his sense of smell.

According to Fox, while this symptom may surprise many people, it’s actually a fairly common thing to experience for those with Parkinson’s Disease. Now, he relies on his memories from childhood to recall different smells from his past.

“I remember the smell of pine, just after Christmas, in this apartment building I lived in. It had balconies, fire escapes, and everyone would put the trees out there for New Year’s before they got picked up, because you couldn’t put them on the road. And the whole place smelled like pine. It smelled like a pine forest.”

And a result of Parkinson’s affecting his memory and his ability to memorize lines, Fox ultimately stepped back from acting. While Fox has become a legendary actor over the years, he admits he didn’t panic when the disease got in his way of doing just that.

“I didn’t freak out. I just went, ‘Well that’s that. Moving on.’ A key element of this process is memorizing lines, and I can’t do it,” he said. “So, I go to the beach.”

Now, Fox is focusing on different interests, including writing and his foundation. “My short-term memory is shot,” Fox told People. “My guitar playing is no good. My sketching is no good anymore, my dancing never was good, and acting is getting tougher to do. So it’s down to writing,” he said. “Luckily, I really enjoy it.”

On his foundation’s website, Fox opted to keep his diagnosis a secret for several years while he continued to live his life in the spotlight. According to The New York Times, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has become “the most credible voice on Parkinson’s research in the world.”

It is also the “world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s drug development.”