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Bruce Willis diagnosed with dementia, his family says

Bruce Willis (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

Bruce Willis’ loved ones provided an update on the actor’s condition, noting the “Die Hard” star, who stepped away from his work in 2022, has a form of dementia that affects his ability to communicate.

His ex-wife Demi Moore posted the update on her Instagram page.

“Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis,” Moore wrote in the caption. “In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.”

Moore wrote that since they announced his diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, his condition has “progressed” and they now have a more specific diagnosis, specifically frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD).

“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces,” Moore wrote. “While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis. She also linked to a full statement for followers to learn more about the disease.

“FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” the family statement said in the link provided. “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.”

The family said Willis “has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same.” They said they have been moved by the love shown by his fans. “Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.”

Last month, social media posts by the actor’s daughter, Rumer Willis, and other family members revealed Willis had been diagnosed with aphasia. It’s “a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.” They announced Willis would step away from his acting career due to the brain condition.

However, his family’s statement confirmed that Willis has been battling health problems and his cognitive abilities were affected.

“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,” Rumer Willis said in an Instagram post that was echoed by other family members. “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.

At 67, Willis remains one of the biggest and most beloved movie stars in Hollywood history. Best known for playing John McClane in the “Die Hard” franchise, his list of credits also includes hits like “Pulp Fiction,” “12 Monkeys,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Sin City,” “The Fifth Element,” “Unbreakable,” “Glass” and more.

One of Willis’ final projects, the thriller “Die Like Lovers,” filmed in Alabama in summer 2021. The sci-fi thriller, now called “Assassin,” is set for release on March 31, in select theaters and video-on-demand. Jesse Atlas, director of the film, announced the news on Wednesday, Jan. 4, in an Instagram post. “My feature directing debut ASSASSIN in theaters 3/31!,” Atlas said. “Written by yours truly and @theaaronwolfe!”

Willis was spotted in the Birmingham area during the filming, and returned to Alabama in the fall, evidently for another movie.

In October 2021, fans reported Willis sightings in Hoover, and the actor stopped to chat and take a photo with at least one of them at Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. Willis was wearing a shirt and cap that sported the University of Alabama logo — the letter “A” in distinctive script — and he appeared to be dressed for a golf game.


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