Bruce Willis has frontotemporal dementia, actor's family announces

Bruce Willis attends a movie premiere in New York on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.
Bruce Willis attends a movie premiere in New York on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.   -  Copyright  Charles Sykes/2019 Invision
By Euronews  with AP

Nearly a year after Bruce Willis' family announced that he would step away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, his family says his “condition has progressed".

In a statement posted Thursday, the 67-year-old actor's family said Willis has a more specific diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

“While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” the statement read. “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone.”

FTD is an uncommon type of dementia that causes problems with behaviour and language.

Last March, Willis' family said his aphasia had affected his cognitive abilities. The condition causes a loss of the ability to understand or express speech.

In Thursday's statement, his family said communication challenges were just one symptom of frontotemporal dementia.

“Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead,” the statement read. “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 statement was posted on the website of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration and signed by Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore, and his five children, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn.

Over a four-decade career, Willis' movies have earned more than €5 billion at the worldwide box office. While beloved for hits like “Die Hard” and “The Sixth Sense,” the prolific actor had in recent years primarily featured in direct-to-video thrillers.