Bruce Willis who is known for popular action films such as Die Hard, Armageddon, Red, and Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction, had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his family have confirmed.
The star, 67, retired from acting last year after revealing he had been diagnosed with brain condition aphasia. His last film role was in the low-budget geezer teaser Detective Knight: Independence.
Many of Willis’s co-stars offered words of support when he was diagnosed with aphasia - his Sixth Sense co-star Haley Joel Osment said at the time: “I just wanted to express the respect and deep admiration I have for Bruce and his family as they move forward with the courage and high spirits that have always defined them.”
More of Willis’s family and friends have offered words of support to Willis and his close family after this latest health announcement.
What has Bruce Willis’s family said?
Bruce’s ex-wife and mother of three of Bruce’s children Demi Moore, Bruce’s daughters Scout and Rumer, and his current wife Emma shared the same post to their Instagram accounts on Thursday (16 February).
The post read: “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.
“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.
“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.”
What is frontotemporal dementia?
Frontotemporal dementia is a rare type of dementia that affects the front and sides of the brain and problems with behaviour and language. Whilst dementia generally affects people over the age of 65, frontotemporal dementia is more commonly diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
The symptoms of the condition generally get worse over a period of years. Symptoms include personality and behaviour changes, struggling to speak and speaking more slowly, and memory problems.
What have celebrities said after Bruce Willis’s dementia diagnosis?
Willis’s former co-star Jim Beaver tweeted: "The news of Bruce Willis’s diagnosis of dementia is sad. I got my first real break as an actor playing his buddy Earl in IN COUNTRY, Norman Jewison’s moving drama about Vietnam veterans, and it was a transformative experience for me."
American journalist and ex-wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver tweeted: “My heart goes out to Bruce Willis and his family, & also my gratitude for shining a much needed light on this disease. When people step forward it helps all of us. When people get a diagnosis it’s extremely difficult, but also for most a relief to get a diagnosis.”
Charity Dementia UK tweeted: “FTD is the 3rd most common form of dementia in people under the age of 65, but there is limited awareness of it among public and health & social care professionals. By speaking openly about his diagnosis, Bruce Willis is helping to raise vital awareness about this condition.”
Many messages of support were also left on Demi Moore’s Instagram post, where the news of Willis’s diagnosis was announced. Arianne Phillips, a costume designer who has worked on films including 3:10 to Yuma and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, said: “So much love and respect for sharing this very personal news . Love and blessings”.
Singer Demi Lovato said ‘Sending so much love’, and Rita Wilson, Sleepless in Seattle actress and wife of actor Tom Hanks, wrote: “Thank you for sharing this with us. Sending Bruce and all the families love.”
Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul also commented on the post: "Love you so much my friend! Sending hugs to you and that beautiful family of yours. Your pops is such a damn legend."