Bruce Willis’s family announced Thursday that the “Die Hard” actor was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, confirming that his condition “progressed” after he stepped away from acting last year.
In March 2022, his family said Willis, 67, was diagnosed with aphasia and was “stepping away” from acting.
His ex-wife, actress Demi Moore, confirmed the frontotemporal dementia diagnosis in an Instagram post on Thursday. Some health authorities say the condition is an “uncommon type of dementia” that can lead to problems with language and behavior.
“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,” Moore, who shares three children with Willis, wrote on behalf of the family. “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, accompanied by a photo of Willis, added that “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 said.
“FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” the statement also said. “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.”
Moore’s post on behalf of her family said that Willis “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.”
After his family confirmed his aphasia diagnosis last year, it was noted that he would have difficulty speaking, writing, and understanding language. However, since then, he’s appeared in public with family members and friends.
“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,” Thursday’s statement added. “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.”
Other details about his diagnosis were not provided on Thursday.
Willis is known for his decades-long career in Hollywood, notably playing the lead role in “Die Hard” and its multiple sequels. He’s appeared in blockbusters like “Armageddon” and “The Fifth Element,” as well as “12 Monkeys,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “Pulp Fiction.”
Willis has received a Golden Globe Award and two Emmy Awards, according to his IMDB page.