When Bruce Willis stepped away from acting last March, his family said that the reason for his early retirement was that he had been “experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.” Today, his family released a statement about Willis’ health, and unfortunately it is not a positive one.

“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022,” it reads, “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.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, FTD is a disorder “caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain's frontal lobes (the areas behind your forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind your ears)” which leads to “loss of function in these brain regions, which variably cause deterioration in behavior, personality and/or difficulty with producing or comprehending language.”

Per the Willis family’s statement, “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.” They also note that as of today, “there are no treatments for the disease.”

Willis is one of the biggest movie and TV stars of his generation, known for playing John McClane in the Die Hard franchise, David Addison on Moonlighting, and for starring in films like The Sixth Sense12 MonkeysPulp FictionArmageddon, and many more.

The statement concludes “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.”

You can read the full statement on Willis’ health here.

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