Bruce Willis’ family has announced that the Hollywood icon, who retired from acting less than a year ago due to aphasia, has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). This is a disease that affects the lobes of the brain that control behaviour, problem-solving, planning, and emotions, with symptoms including personality changes, obsessive behaviour, and speaking difficulties.
FTD is the most common form of dementia that affects a person’s cognitive abilities, and it is most commonly observed in individuals under the age of 60. The family of the actor who is suffering from this condition expressed their desire for the media to highlight their loved one’s situation in the hope of raising awareness about this illness.
Bruce Willis is an American actor and producer, best known for his roles in numerous films and TV shows. Willis gained fame in the 1980s and 1990s for his roles in the television series Moonlighting and the action films Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard with a Vengeance.
He has also appeared in many other successful films, such as Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, Armageddon, and “Red.” In addition to his work in film and television, Willis has also done stage work and lent his voice to animated projects.
On Thursday, Willis’ family posted an update on social media to express their heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming amount of love and support they have received since making the announcement.
“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,” the statement wrote.
“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.”
The joint statement from his wife, ex-wife, and five daughters, posted on the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s website, expresses the family’s gratitude for the love, support, and wonderful stories they have received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis. They also give an update on his condition, which has progressed since his diagnosis of aphasia in the spring of 2022. Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce now faces, and FTD is a cruel disease that can strike anyone.
The family hopes that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on FTD and raising awareness of the disease that needs far more research. They encourage others facing FTD to seek out the wealth of information and support available through the AFTD and urge those who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD to take the time to learn about it and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way they can.
Image credit: Harald Hillemanns