Michael J. Fox accepted an honorary Oscar in an emotional speech at the 13th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles.
The beloved "Back To The Future" star received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which honors individuals "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry," for his work with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research into Parkinson's disease.
"The hardest part of my diagnosis was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation," he said. "The diagnosis was definite and the progress was indefinite and uncertain. Tracy made it clear that she was with me for the duration," he said, praising the unwavering support of his wife.
"It struck me that everything I had been given -- success, my life with Tracy, my family -- had prepared me for this profound opportunity and responsibility," he said of grappling with his diagnosis and starting the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund research. "I referred to Parkinson's as the gift that keeps on taking ... but it truly became a gift."
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system and impairs movement, often including tremors, according to the Mayo Clinic. Currently, there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson's disease.
Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, became an advocate for finding a cure. He founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 and the foundation has since become the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson's disease research in the world and has funded more than $1.5 billion of research projects to date, according to the foundation's website.
"It made me feel really proud of all the people who work at the foundation. All the patients who contributed their life stories," Fox told "Good Morning America" on the red carpet of receiving the honor. "It's really humbling, I mean it's truly humbling."
Fox, who retired from acting in 2020 due to the progression of his Parkinson's disease, was supported by his wife Tracy Pollen, his four children, as well as his longtime-friend, and "Back To The Future" co-star, Christopher Lloyd on Saturday night while he received the Oscar.
"My optimism is fueled by my gratitude," Fox said during his acceptance speech. "With gratitude, optimism is sustainable."