Bruce Willis is “stepping away” from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia.
The 67-year-old’s daughter, Rumer, shared on Instagram Wednesday that her dad has “been experiencing some health issues … which is impacting his cognitive abilities.”
“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” she wrote in the caption, alongside a photo of Bruce smirking at the camera.
The post was also shared on other family Instagram accounts, including the account belonging to his ex-wife, Demi Moore.
The letter, signed by Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Mabel Willis and Evelyn Willis, plus Bruce’s wife Emma Heming Willis and Moore, went on to say that it “is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.”
According to the Canada-based Aphasia Institute, “Aphasia is a language problem that masks a person’s inherent competence, and most dramatically affects conversational interaction (talking and understanding), as well as the ability to read and write.”
The organization says it’s a communication problem, but that those living with aphasia understand what is happening around them, even if they are unable to communicate well. However, aphasia can result in profound social isolation due to not being able to communicate with others.
“The easiest way to grasp this is to think of yourself in a country where you do not speak the language. You would not be able to express yourself, understand others, read or write – but this does not mean that you would not know what you want to say or communicate,” the institute wrote on its website.
The Mayo Clinic adds that aphasia “typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative).”
Bruce, a two-time Emmy winner, a fan favourite and recipient of a Golden Globe Award, has starred in films such as Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Die Hard, Armageddon and more.
“I’m very saddened by this news,” Larry Gordon, producer of Die Hard and its 1990 sequel, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Bruce is a good friend and was fantastic to work with on Die Hard 1 and 2. They couldn’t be harder films for an actor to make and survive. He is the consummate pro and a gutsy guy.”
Director James Cullen Bressack, who worked with Willis on a number of films last year, shared a tribute to his friend on Instagram: “I’m blessed to have had the chance to work with him and send all the love in the world to him, his friends, and his family.”