Bruce Willis, 67, has been diagnosed with a brain condition that affects his ability to understand language and will be stepping away from acting, his family has announced.
In a statement posted to social media, his family said: ‘To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.
‘As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.’
The statement added: ‘This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.
‘As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that,’ the statement, which was signed by his wife, model Emma Heming Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore and all of his children, concluded.
According to the National Aphasia Association, the condition is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write.
The association reports the condition is always due to injury to the brain, most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals.
Head trauma, brain tumors or from infections can also cause aphasia.
It is currently unclear what lead to Willis’ diagnosis.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Willis’ publicist for comment.
Bruce Willis, 67, has has been diagnosed with a brain condition called aphasia and will be stepping away from acting, his family has announced
His family shared a statement on their social media pages announcing his diagnosis on Wednesday and saying he will be be ‘stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him’
The statement was signed by his wife, Emma (pictured) and his ex-wife Demi Moore as well as all of his children
The family has reportedly known his mental state has been deteriorating before issuing the statement on Wednesday
‘We are moving through this as a strong family unit:’ Bruce Willis’ family issues statement about his condition
‘To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.
This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.
As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that.
Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn’
The announcement comes more than one year after OK Magazine first speculated on Willis’ declining mental health, after he was seen leaving a California pharmacy without a facemask. The actor later apologized saying it was an ‘error in judgment,’ but unnamed sources told the magazine Willis ‘simply forgot’ to bring the bandana hanging from his neck up to his face.
The source said that, although Willis had not been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, ‘he’s been waging a personal war for a number of years.’
He said Willis had sold his New York property to spend more time with his wife and children in Los Angeles, and said that his wife, as well as ex-wife Demi Moore, were working together to take care of the famed actor
‘His wife Emma has helped Demi Moore and the children Bruce shares with his ex-wife to make truces because they know he’s fading,’ the unnamed source told the magazine in January 2021.
‘Between Demi and Emma, the family has always ensured Bruce has the support and care he might need at any given time,’ the insider said. ‘It’s sad that people are making fun of him.’
According to the magazine, Willis had previously been seen using an earpiece to feed him lines in his Broadway debut in Misery in 2015, and the unnamed insider also said he was struggling during the filming of M. Night Shyamalan’s2019 film Glass.
‘While filming Glass, staffers worked around him by cutting and editing and having him overdub lines because he struggled to remember and/or deliver them,’ they told the publication, according to the New Zealand Herald.
‘In most scenes on Glass he’s hooded, and they used stand-in and body doubles to replace him. On set, he wouldn’t smile and was always chaperoned by an assistant to guide him while walking.’
They added, ‘The good news is that although there is the real concern of dementia fears, it largely has not impacted his ability to work in Hollywood – and in true super hero form – he won’t slow down because new technology like earpieces allows actors of his caliber not to skip a beat.’
But in recent weeks, the New Zealand Herald reports, die hard fans of the actor have noticed he was taking more roles in straight-to-video releases, as he has been pictured more often with his family on several occasions.
Last week, Moore shared a recent picture of the two of them last week as she wished him a happy birthday.
Demi Moore recently posted this picture to Instagram thanking Willis for their blended family
Willis, second from left, recently celebrated his 67th birthday with all of his family
Willis shares his youngest two children, Evelyn and Mabel, with his wife Emma
The announcement marks an end to Willis’ decades-long career, which began with small roles in television shows like Miami Vice and The Twilight Zone in the early 1980s, according to IMDB.
His first big role was as John McClane in the hit film Die Hard in 1988, leading to six sequels.
Willis went on to star in films like Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys and the superhero film, Unbreakable, for which he reprised his role over a decade later in the 2016 film Split and the 2019 film Glass.
He has also appeared in a number of television shows, including the beloved classic Friends, Moonlighting and as the main voice actor in Bruno the Kid.
Willis has also recently completed multiple projects that are in post-production, including Vendetta, Fortress: Sniper’s Eye and White Elephant.
It’s unclear what will happen with Fortress 3, which is currently in pre-production.
APHASIA: THE LANGUAGE DISORDER THAT AFFECTS A PERSON’S ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE
Aphasia is a condition that causes a person to struggle to communicate, whether verbally or in writing.
It can occur after a stroke, head injury, or another traumatic event. It can also be the result of a tumor or a degenerative brain condition like Alzheimer’s.
Aphasia often occurs very suddenly and results from trauma or injury to the left side of the brain.
The condition is sometimes temporary.
People who are middle-aged or older are at most risk of developing the condition.
There is no cure for the condition, though it can be treated with regular speech therapy to relearn language skills and communication strategies.
The NIH reports that around one million Americans have aphasia, and around 180,000 cases are diagnosed every year.
Doctors can often spot aphasia on an MRI or CT scan to identify where in the brain it is occurring.
There are three common types of aphasia, ‘fluent’, ‘non-fluent’ and ‘global.’
The most common type of fluent aphasia is called Wernicke’s aphasia.
A person with Wernicke’s aphasia may just speak by using long strings of words – some made up – that have little to no meaning when put together.
Broca’s aphasia is the most common type of non-fluent aphasia.
It is often paired with some sort of paralysis or weakness effecting the right side of the body.
A person suffering from Broca’s aphasia often speaks in short, quick, sentences that require much effort.
Global aphasia sufferers often have severe brain damage and have trouble with basic speech and communication comprehension.