Last March, Bruce Willis’s family announced that he was dealing with a severe case of aphasia, and that he was stepping away from acting and effectively retiring. There were rumors and reports that his health and mental facilities were declining dramatically in the years prior to the announcement, yet he continued to book film after film, perhaps trying to ensure that his family would be financially comfortable. Back in March, the family did make it seem like aphasia was part of a larger issue, a more significant diagnosis. And now they’re giving Bruce’s fans more information. Bruce has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his wife Emma Heming Willis revealed on Thursday. Heming Willis, 44, shared a photo of her the actor, 67, on Instagram, and said that his condition has worsened since the family first revealed his aphasia diagnosis last year.
“Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis,” Emma wrote. “In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.”
“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.”
Frontotemporal dementia is an all-encompassing term for a group of brain disorders that threatens the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This means that parts of these lobes atrophy, and the shrinking of these areas can cause speech issues, emotional problems and changes in personality. Other symptoms can include loss of motor skills — problems walking, swallowing or muscle spasms. Symptoms tend to get worse over time. Patients typically begin to notice symptoms between 40 – 65 years of age, but it can affect people who are younger. It is the most common form of dementia for people under 60.
Emma continued, “Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately,” she said. “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.”
“Bruce has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same,” she ended. “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.”
Many commenters predicted/suggested that this was the underlying issue when the aphasia announcement came out last year, that Bruce is dealing with FTD or some form of progressive dementia. It would explain some of the rumors and reports of his behavior on-set in recent years, although by the looks of his public outings in recent years, he doesn’t appear to be physically struggling at this point. But that will likely happen, and that’s probably why Emma is releasing this information. She wants people to know that Bruce probably won’t be seen out in public much longer.
Here are some photos of Bruce on November 20, 2022 in LA. He was out with a friend.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.
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