Bruce Willis ‘stepping away’ from acting after being diagnosed with brain condition, family says

Actor’s family says the condition has been ‘impacting his cognitive abilities’

Isobel Lewis,Leonie Cooper
Thursday 31 March 2022 08:51 BST
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Bruce Willis is “stepping away” from acting after being diagnosed with the brain condition aphasia, his family has announced.

In a statement shared on Instagram, the Die Hard star’s family wrote that he had been “experiencing some health issues” which were “impacting his cognitive abilities”.

“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” they wrote.

“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

They continued: “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.

“As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”

Aphasia is a form of brain damage which impairs language expression and comprehension. It leaves sufferers unable to communicate effectively and is often the result of a stroke.

The statement is signed by Willis’s wife Emma, his ex-partner Demi Moore and all of his children.

Willis came to prominence in the mid-1980s, with his role on television comedy-drama Moonlighting, alongside Cybill Shepherd, in which the pair played private detectives.

In 1988 Willis starred in the very first Die Hard film, which began a run of action hero roles, including 1991’s The Last Boy Scout, 1998’s Armageddon and a number of Die Hard sequels.

Willis was also visited Iraq in a 2003 USO tour.

He was born in West Germany in 1955 to a military family. When he was two his family moved to New Jersey and he joined his high school drama club to help overcome his stutter.

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After working as a security guard in the 1970s, Willis started a drama course at Montclair State University and later in the decade moved to New York City to start his career as an actor. He played a number of off-Broadway roles before moving to California and securing the role in Moonlighting.

His first lead role in a feature film was in 1987’s Blind Date.

Willis had a semi-successful music career, releasing 1987’s The Return Of Bruno, a blues and soul record which came out on the Motown label. Its lead single, “Respect Yourself”, a duet with June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, was a Top 10 hit in the US and UK.

In the 1990s Willis appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic Pulp Fiction, and he later went on to score an Emmy for his cameo in sitcom Friends.

In 2015 Willis made his Broadway debut in a critically panned production of Stephen King’s Misery.

Since the early 2010s Willis has appeared mainly in direct-to-video films, with notable exceptions in Moonrise Kingdom and Looper.

His most recent film, the heist movie A Day To Die, was released earlier this month.

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