Star Trek's Kenneth Mitchell battled ALS for five years before his death

The Star Trek and Captain Marvel actor’s family have opened up about his health.

Kenneth Mitchell ALS death
© Albert L. Ortega / GETTYIMAGES
Kenneth Mitchell ALS death

On Saturday 24 February, Kenneth Mitchell passed away. He was known for his roles in Star Trek and Captain Marvel and, having dealt with some major health problems for years, he died at the young age of 49. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2018, and had since spoken out about the diagnosis and how it impacted his life.

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This comes shortly after the passing of The Office actor Ewen MacIntosh as well as radio legend Steve Wright. Mitchell’s family confirmed his death with an emotional message posted online, and explained that:

For five and a half years Ken faced a series of awful challenges from ALS. And in truest Ken fashion, he managed to rise above each one with grace and commitment to living a full and joyous life in each moment.

Let’s take a look into what the disease is, and how it impacted the actor.

What is ALS?

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and it is the most common form of motor neurone disease (MND). According to the NHS, it leads to ‘muscle weakness, often with visible wasting’ of the body’s tissues:

MND happens when specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, called motor neurones, stop working properly and die prematurely. This is known as neurodegeneration.

The disease makes walking and talking difficult, and sufferers often have trouble gripping, swallowing and breathing.

Mitchell’s diagnosis

A year after Mitchell’s 2018 diagnosis, he was in a wheelchair. In 2020, he shared his experience with the disease with People magazine. The actor had been in ‘complete disbelief’, and his wife had been a constant support:

I do remember there was something really simple and beautiful in a way, how my wife and I were in the trenches together, and how we from this moment on we're having to deal with something so severe that was going to affect our lives forever.

Mitchell’s acceptance of ALS

The star is survived by his wife, actress Susan May Pratt, and their children Lilah and Kallum. Speaking of his wife’s devotion, he said: ‘I think it, over time, became the theme of us accepting this with grace.’

In August last year, 5 years after his diagnosis, Mitchell posted about his health battle on social media. He shared a beach snap and said that ALS is ‘absolutely horrific’ but added:

5 years today. My brother humorously mentioned that they don’t really have a happy ALS Anniversary card in the shop. However, I want to celebrate today; the gift of life. I’m so thankful to have this day in front of me. It’s been a long 5 years. So much lost, so much gained. Incredibly hard times, mixed with so many more blessings.

Read more:

Star Trek actor Gary Graham dies at the age of 73

John Savident: Coronation Street actor dies at 86

Heartbreak as Jonnie Irwin dies at 50: What is the condition that gave him only six months to live?

Sources used:

Mirror: Kenneth Mitchell's ALS battle as Star Trek star dies at 49 - from disbelief to stand-up dream
The New York Times: Kenneth Mitchell, Known for ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Captain Marvel’ Roles, Dies at 49

NHS Inform: Motor neurone disease (MND)

Eastenders star cancels appearances as he is struggling with health since the death of his partner Eastenders star cancels appearances as he is struggling with health since the death of his partner