Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia — a language disorder caused by brain damage that impairs one’s ability to communicate. His family announced the news on social media on March 30.
“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,” the joint statement from his family reads. “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,” it continues. “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.”
Aphasia can occur suddenly after a stroke or head injury, or develop slowly from a growing brain tumor or other disease. Those with aphasia struggle to understand and express written and verbal language.
While there is no cure for aphasia, the underlying cause can be addressed and treated. Speech therapy is a common form of treatment and can reportedly help improve symptoms with time. Willis’ family did not disclose the underlying cause of the actor’s diagnosis.
Willis’ decades-long career has produced over 100 acting credits across TV and film. Some of his most memorable film performances include the Die Hard franchise and The Sixth Sense.
Willis has won two Emmys for his appearances on TV. He won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Moonlighting in 1987 and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Friends in 2000. He also won a Golden Globe for Moonlighting in 1987.