Following the announcement made by Bruce Willis’ family in March 2022 that the 67-year-old actor was retiring from acting due to his diagnosis of aphasia, his condition has since developed into frontotemporal dementia.
Frontotemporal dementia, which is frequently identified at a younger age than other types of dementia, can manifest as alterations in personality, difficulty with speech, and motor dysfunction. This type of dementia is responsible for 10% to 20% of all dementia diagnoses, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.
Bruce Willis embarked on his acting career in the early 1980s, appearing in movies such as “The Verdict,” “Blind Date,” and “Sunset.” His career reached new heights in 1985 with his leading role alongside Cybill Shepherd in the ABC show “Moonlighting,” as well as his remarkable performance as the action hero John McClane in the 1988 film “Die Hard.” Over the years, Willis starred in four subsequent “Die Hard” movies, as well as memorable roles in other acclaimed films like “Pulp Fiction,” “12 Monkeys,” “The Fifth Element,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “Armageddon.”
Throughout his 40-year acting career, Bruce Willis’ films have earned over $5 billion in global box office revenue. He has been nominated for five Golden Globes, winning one for his role in “Moonlighting,” and three Emmy Awards, winning one for “Moonlighting” and another for his guest appearance on “Friends.” In recent years, he has mostly appeared in direct-to-video movies, with his last major film role being in 2019’s “Motherless Brooklyn” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass.”
On Instagram, Rumer Willis announced the news and posted a picture of her father.
Read the Willis 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 the spring of 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.
Also, read A live-action adaptation of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ which is currently being developed.