Jet Li looks unrecognizable, shocks fans with frail appearance in photo

A recent photo of Jet Li was widely shared on social media and sparked concern among fans who felt the martial arts legend looked unrecognizable as he continues to battle health problems. 

Li, who appeared in major Hollywood films such as 1998’s “Lethal Weapon 4” and 2012’s “The Expendables 2,” was photographed visiting a temple in Tibet donning glasses and a shaved head, South China Morning Post reported. The 55-year-old appeared to need assistance while walking.

“He has hyperthyroidism that he’s been dealing with for almost 10 years. It’s nothing life-threatening and he’s dealing with it. I guess it’s sensationalism,” the star's manager Steven Chasman told The Washington Post.

http://aem-author.foxnews.com/cf#/content/fox-news/

Jet Li was unrecognizable when pictured with a fan recently in Tibet.  (Weibo)

“He was so active before and now he looks like an old man,” one person was quoted telling South China Morning Post.  

Another person said, “His kung fu is real and his films were great. Pity he’s suffering from this illness.”

“I couldn’t even recognize him,” one person added.

Jet Li, Goodwill Ambassador for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), visits a mangrove plantation supported by IFRC in Thanh Hoa province, 150 km (93 miles) south of Hanoi January 23, 2011. The action star is in Vietnam to support IFRC projects. REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY HEALTH) - GM1E71N172L01

Jet Li, Goodwill Ambassador for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in 2011. He was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2010.  (Reuters)

Fans were shocked to see Li’s frail appearance. Li revealed in 2013 he was suffering from a slew of health issues, including hyperthyroidism, spinal problems and a heart condition. He was first diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in 2010 and took medication to control it.

“Either [I] continue making [action] films or spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair,” Li revealed at the time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Serious injuries he previously suffered to his legs and spine also affected his movement. He said he couldn’t stand for a prolonged period of time without hunching.

In the last few years, Li has dedicated most of his time to charity work. A devout Buddhist, Li said his religious belief, meditation and scripture reading helped his condition.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam