Martin Sheen Reacts To Son Charlie’s HIV Announcement: ‘I Couldn’t Believe The Level Of Courage’

Following Charlie Sheen’s announcement yesterday that he’s HIV-positive, his father Martin Sheen is speaking out to laud his son’s courage for going public.

“He had been leading up to this sort of story for several months, and we kept encouraging him to do it,”; the elder Sheen told the Naples Daily News. “It was the most difficult thing he’d ever done.”;

As the Apocalypse Now star explains, the decision to open up about his diagnosis was not an easy one. “He kept backing away and backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess,”; said Sheen.

Related: Charlie Sheen Reveals He’s HIV-Positive

“We didn’t know until he walked on the set this morning that he was going to do it,”; added the West Wing star. “I saw him Saturday night, my wife and I went to see him to make sure he knew we were behind him, and if he wanted me to go, I would have canceled this event. He said, no, this was his and his alone.”;

According to the Naples Daily News, Martin found himself becoming “choked up”; during the interview, as he recalled his son’s struggles with drugs and alcohol.

Related: Martin Sheen’s Outspoken History Of HIV And AIDS Activism

“This morning, as I watched him alone, reveal his deepest, darkest secret, I couldn’t believe the level of courage I was witnessing and that it was my son,”; admitted Sheen. “I left him a message, and I said that if I had that much courage, I would change the world.”;

Ultimately, Sheen hopes that his son’s openness about his HIV will inspire others battling drugs and alcohol (as he himself did in the 1980s) to seek help. “The effort to find the transcendence in our humanity, our brokenness, to accept the brokenness and to rise with it, without the drug, is what we call recovery,”; he said. “And I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie’s life as a free man.”;

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