Bruce Willis has been newly diagnosed with a “more specific” dementia condition, his family said Thursday in a lengthy statement.
Willis, 67, stepped away from his acting career in March of last year after his initial diagnosis of aphasia, a condition that affects his ability to speak and to understand language.
However, according to the family’s statement, “his symptoms have since progressed and are no longer limited to challenges with communication, leading to his recent diagnosis of FTD.”
Willis first broke out on the ABC series “Moonlighting” before he made the transition to movie star with 1988’s “Die Hard,” which was followed by notable performances in films ranging from “Pulp Fiction” to “The Sixth Sense” to “12 Monkeys.”
More Recently, Willis’ career had trended toward more direct-to-video films though he still made time for noteworthy theatrical releases like 2019’s “Glass,” in which he reprised his role from M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 film “Unbreakable.”
See the family’s full statement below:
As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months. Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update.
Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD). Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.
FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research.
Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.
Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD (@theaftd, theaftd.org). And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way you can.
Bruce has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same. It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us. We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.
-Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn