Bruce Willis Has Aphasia and Is 'Stepping Away' from Acting, Family Reveals

Bruce Willis' family revealed on social media Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with aphasia and would be retiring from acting

Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia.

The 67-year-old actor's family shared the news on Instagram Wednesday, writing alongside a photo of him on their Instagram feeds, "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."

"As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him," the caption added.

According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia "robs you of the ability to communicate" and "can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written." The group adds that the condition "typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative)."

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Bruce's family's Instagram posts went on to say that it "is a really challenging time" for them all, "and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support."

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis. TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty

"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," they concluded, signing the note from the actor's daughters Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Mabel Willis and Evelyn Willis, plus Bruce's wife Emma Heming Willis and his ex-wife Demi Moore.

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Bruce is known for his long career in Hollywood that spans several decades, often playing the lead in action films like Die Hard and its sequels, Armageddon and more.

He has also appeared in iconic films like Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys and Sin City, often as tough-guy characters with a heart of gold. More recently, he starred in the 2018 Eli Roth-directed hit action-thriller Death Wish.

Bruce has received numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and two Emmy Awards, and has several projects lined up for a 2022 release.

At a 2018 30th anniversary screening of Die Hard, Bruce's costar Reginald VelJohnson said of his committed portrayal of N.Y.C. police detective John McClane, "I think it was his first big film and he wanted to make it right, he wanted to make it work. He was more concerned with how to do the role rather than anything else."

"This was his first movie, and he was the star of a huge blockbuster and it was very well advertised that he was making $5 million, which at the time was unbelievable," added Bonnie Bedelia, who played John's wife Holly Gennaro McClane. "And everybody was like, 'Why would you pay $5 million to an untried movie star?' But boy, someone was really smart."

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Aside from sharing Rumer, 33, Scout, 30, and Tallulah, 28, with Moore, Bruce is dad to two daughters with wife Emma, 43: Mabel, 9, and Evelyn, 7.

The families regularly speak about their love for one another, while Moore, 59, even spent time self-isolating with Bruce and their daughters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back in October 2021, Rumer spoke to PEOPLE about being the child of divorced parents and commended both her mother and father for making it so she "never" felt pressured to pick one over another.

"I'm so grateful that we have all really strived to have really deep and meaningful and honest communication," she said. "In any relationship β€” whether it's with a partner, whether it's with your family or your friends β€” that being honest and just really communicating well and having good tools for communication, I think, is so unbelievably important."

"I have a lot of friends who grew up with parents who got divorced at a young age and I watched their parents, like, pit them against each other or have to choose between holidays," she added. "And I didn't have to do that, and I feel so grateful that my parents made it such a priority that we could be a family, even though it looked different."

Earlier this month, Moore celebrated Bruce as he rang in his 67th birthday, sharing a photo of the two posing beside one another in a kitchen with wide smiles as Moore held onto a cutting board of true morels.

"Happy birthday, Bruce! Thankful for our blended family 🀍," the actress, who was married to Bruce from 1987 to 2000, captioned her message.

Over that same weekend, Emma posted a tribute to her husband of 13 years in honor of their anniversary, sharing an emotional photo of the two at their 2009 wedding.

"13 years ago, those wedding speeches really sent us over the edge πŸ€πŸ˜‚ Enjoy! #uglycry #weddinganniversary #lucky13," she joked in the caption.

Emma also posted her own birthday tribute to Bruce in the form of a sweet photo montage from over the years, and wrote, "I don't just love him, I really really like him πŸ’“ #birthdayboy πŸ₯³πŸ’."

Updated by
Jen Juneau

Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016.

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