How Bruce Willis Was Able to Keep Acting Amid Aphasia Battle

The 67-year-old actor's family shared that he will be stepping down from his acting career following the diagnosis.

On Wednesday, fans were shocked to hear that legendary actor Bruce Willis would be stepping away from his acting career after being diagnosed with aphasia.

Willis' family announced on Wednesday that after a decades-spanning career with many blockbuster films and franchises to his name, the 67-year-old actor would be "stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him," due to the condition affecting 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." 

Two sources have since told ET that the actor's health has been deteriorating for a while now, so much so that he needed help with his lines on film sets. 

"It got to the point where on his last several films, he was fitted with an earpiece, and someone had to read him his lines because he was unable to remember them," one of the sources told ET. 

ET spoke with Dr. Nneka Ifejika, a rehab specialist at UT Southwestern, about the condition. 

"Aphasia is a condition that results from damage to the speech areas of the brain," Dr. Ifejika shared with ET. 

As for what Willis and his family can do to treat his condition moving forward, he has several options to maintain a good quality of life. 

"There are treatments for it, though, so it will be very important to get ahold of a speech and language pathologist," Dr. Ifejika noted. "Their quality of life is greatly affected by aphasia, however, with good, adaptive methods and ways to compensate for aphasia, you can still have a good quality of life. There are certain medications and certain conditions that can be used to help facilitate communication."

Willis' last released project was this year's A Day to Die, and he has several completed and announced projects listed on his IMDb page. 

Willis is best known for his role as John McClane in the Die Hard films and has many other hit movies to his name including Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, Sin City, Armageddon, The Fifth Element and more. 

For more on the condition, watch the clip below: 


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