Bruce Willis Diagnosed With Frontotemporal Dementia, Family Announces

The actor's family announced in March 2022 that he was diagnosed with aphasia.

Bruce Willis' family has announced the actor's condition has progressed to frontotemporal dementia, also known as FTD.

Bruce's wife, Emma, ex-wife, Demi Moore, and daughters, RumerScoutTallulah, Mabel and Evelyn, shared a joint statement Thursday (via the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration organization) of the recent diagnosis they referred to as "a cruel disease."

"As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months," the statement read. "Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update."

According to the Alzheimer's Association, FTD "refers to a group of disorders 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). The association also says nerve cell damage caused by FTD can lead to "loss of function in these brain regions, which variably cause deterioration in behavior, personality and/or difficulty with producing or comprehending language."

The statement continued, "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."

"FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone," the statement added. "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."

The family said 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."

The family concluded the statement by saying, "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."

It was back in March 2022 when the family announced the actor would be stepping away from acting following his aphasia diagnosis, which was "impacting his cognitive abilities."

According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia is "a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written." 

At the time, a source told ET that the actor had been "struggling for quite some time."

"Bruce has been struggling for quite some time. He has tried to keep his health struggles private, but last year, his health started declining more. He made a plan to make a bunch of movies and do as much as he could career wise, so that he could retire and take care of his family."

Following the aphasia diagnosis, Emma opened up on National Grief Awareness Day to share some of the ways she was tackling her grief.

"This was the summer of self discovery—finding new hobbies, going out of my comfort zone and staying active," Emma captioned a video of herself gardening, staining wood, shadowboxing, biking, playing tennis and more. "My grief can be paralyzing but I’m learning how to live alongside it."  



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