Martin Sheen told of his son Charlie Sheen's courage in announcing he is HIV positive, saying: "I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie's life as a free man."
His son, Charlie, learned about his diagnosis four years ago but only went public with the news on the Today show Tuesday. Martin said: "He had been leading up to this sort of story for several months, and we kept encouraging him to do it. And he kept backing away and backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess."
Martin and Charlie Sheen at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006
The Apocalypse Now actor, who was in Naples for the CME Group's Global Financial Leadership Conference when his son revealed his tragic diagnosis, told Naples Daily News: "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. It was the most difficult thing he'd ever done."
The father-of-four, who was appearing at a panel event with House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey, said he felt "a great sense of relief" when his son chose to make his public admission. "I left him a message, and I said that if I had that much courage, I would change the world," he said.
Charlie shared news of his diagnosis on the Today show on Tuesday
Charlie, 50, who has five children, admitted that he had paid millions in response to blackmail threats from people who said they would expose his diagnosis. "What people forget is that it’s money that they are taking from my children," he said. "They think it’s just it’s just me but I have got five kids and a granddaughter."
Ahead of going public with his condition, the Two and a Half Men actor recieved many well wishes, such as Heaher Locklear who posted that her "heart hurt" for him, as well as sending prayers to him and his family.
Martin Sheen appeared alongside Charlie in 1987 film Wall Street and again in the 1993 comedy Hot Shots! Part Deux.