Bruce Willis‘ health has taken another turn for the worse.
In March, the actor’s family took to socials to announce that the 67-year-old would be retiring after getting diagnosed with a brain disorder known as aphasia, which is the loss of ability to understand or express speech. Now, they have another difficult update to share.
On Thursday, Bruce’s wife Emma Heming, ex-wife Demi Moore, and children Rumer, 34, Scout, 31, Tallulah, 29, Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8, released a joint statement announcing their patriarch has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Their message began:
“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.”
Things have gotten more challenging since the family first opened up about the Die Hard star’s health status, and they are now ready to get candid, they revealed:
“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.”
It always helps to have answers, but we cannot imagine how difficult this news must be for them all…
If you don’t know, FTD affects the lobes of the brain behind the forehead, which deal with behavior, problem-solving, planning, and emotions. The disease can cause a person to experience personality changes, obsessive behavior, and difficulty speaking. There is also no cure and very little research on the condition, something the family hopes will change in the Pulp Fiction alum’s honor:
“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.”
They went on to encourage everyone to educate themselves on this disease and to support organizations working to fund more research and care for families dealing with the cognitive illness, such as the The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.
Concluding the heartfelt message, the family wrote:
“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.”
Such an upsetting update. Our heart just breaks for Bruce and his loved ones. You can see a portion of the statement that was shared on several of the family members’ Instagram accounts (below).
What a tough situation to navigate… As mentioned, FTD affects more than just memory loss. It can entirely change a person’s personality. For example, someone may become tactless and uninterested in others as well as develop repeated and compulsive movements, like repeating phrases or getting obsessive about things. It may result in slow speech, grammatical errors, and asking about the meaning of familiar words, among other challenges.
This health update comes after the Willis family first announced Bruce’s diagnosis with aphasia last year. At the time, they said he’d be stepping away from acting since the condition was “impacting his cognitive abilities.” We will be keeping him and his entire family in our thoughts as they get through this tough time. You can read their full statement and learn more about the diagnosis HERE.