Leonard Nimoy diagnosed with chronic lung disease at 82

THE Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy has revealed he is suffering from chronic lung disease, despite stopping smoking more than 30 years ago.

The man who found fame as the star ship Enterprise's logic-driven first officer Spock is a regular user of Twitter, and announced to his 808,000 followers that he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term for a number of illnesses including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The majority of cases of COPD are brought on by cigarette smoke, and Nimoy - who signs off each tweet with the letters LLAP ("live long and prosper") - advised his followers to "quit now".

Nimoy, who is 82, was photographed last month leaving a hospital in New York in a wheelchair, and attached to a breathing apparatus.

Though he stopped attending Star Trek conventions in 2011, the franchise's star made a cameo as Spock in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, and made a number of guest appearances in the science fiction series Fringe, which ran until 2012.

A firm favourite among fans, Nimoy has played the famous Vulcan character since 1966 and was the only actor from the original series to return for JJ Abrams' recent film versions.

In a franchise which regularly features elements of time travel, Nimoy played the original "incarnation" of the character - Spock Prime - to Zachary Quinto's younger Spock.

The pair featured in an advert ahead of the film last year, in which they took part in a "challenge" complete with a host of sometimes subtle Star Trek references.