Chris Hemsworth will take an acting break after making "shocking" Alzheimer's discovery

The actor has a rare gene which makes him 8-10 more likely to contract Alzheimer's

chris hemsworth
(Image credit: National Geographic for Disney+/Craig Parry)

Thor star Chris Hemsworth is taking a break from acting, after discovering he has a strong predisposition for Alzheimer’s. While starring on the National Geographic series Limitless, Hemsworth discovered after visiting a doctor that he has a strong chance of contracting the disease due to a rare gene. 

Over the course of the show, which explores different facets of human longevity and limitations, Hemsworth discovered that he has a rare gene which makes him “eight to 10 times” more likely to contract Alzheimer’s. 

After having bloodwork done for the show, Hemsworth recalled in a piece for Vanity Fair that the doctor called the series’ showrunner Darren Aronosfky to tell him, “I don’t want to tell him this on camera.”

“It was pretty shocking because he called me up and he told me,” Hemsworth explained, adding his parents had been with him at the time and had a lot of questions about the revelation. He added that only “one in a thousand people” are likely to have the same gene.

While upsetting to hear, Hemsworth added he was dealing with it with “a sense of humour.” He continued, “Like everything in the show I went, 'Okay, great. I now have to work on this more.' If you look at Alzheimer's prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life. When you have preposition to cardiovascular heart disease, cancer, anything—it's all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It's all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”

Hemsworth also explained the revelation had changed his outlook on work and his life, as it’s impacted the kinds of roles and work environments he wants to explore. While he’s finishing up work on the upcoming Mad Max film Furiosa and Extraction 2, he said he’s since been inspired to take things easy and spend time with his family. 

chris hemsworth limitless

Chris Hemsworth during a stress challenge in Limitless

(Image credit: National Geographic for Disney+/Craig Parry)

The father of three explained, “It really triggered something in me to want to take some time off. And since we finished the show, I've been completing the things I was already contracted to do.”

“Now when I finish this tour this week, I'm going home and I'm going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife,” he said.

Throughout the series, Hemsworth explores the limits of the human body through a series of trials and challenges - in conjunction with scientific research about improving one’s wellbeing. Each episode of the mini series focuses on a different aspect, exploring topics such as stress, shock, strength and even death. With guest stars such as his brother Liam Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky, Hemsworth’s journey takes him around the world as he takes on six epic challenges. 

Limitless is streaming on Disney Plus now.

Megan C. Hills

Megan is a freelance journalist who covers entertainment and all things lifestyle, with a particular passion for fashion, beauty, travel and Keanu Reeves stories. She has previously worked on staff for titles including Marie Claire UK, CNN Style and The Evening Standard and has written for titles such as Bustle UK, Wallpaper*, Forbes and Hong Kong Tatler. She splits her time between London and her hometown Hong Kong, where she currently lives with the love of her life - an elderly dog named Poppy - and her husband.