M. Night Shyamalan Sends 'Love and Respect' to Bruce Willis, Says Actor Will Always Be His 'Hero'

The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan expressed support for Bruce Willis after the actor's family revealed he has been diagnosed with aphasia

M. Night Shyamalan is showing love to Bruce Willis in light of the actor's aphasia diagnosis.

The director, 51, shared a tweet on Wednesday sending support to the Die Hard star, whose family announced earlier in the day had been "experiencing some health issues" and would be "stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."

"All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis. I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength," Shyamalan tweeted.

He continued, "He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as [a] kid."

Shyamalan and Willis have collaborated multiple times in the past. Willis appeared in multiple films from Shyamalan, including 1999's The Sixth Sense, in which he played Dr. Malcolm Crowe, and 2000's Unbreakable, in which he played David Dunn.

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He reprised his role as Dunn in two of Shyamalan's later films, making an uncredited cameo in 2016's Split and playing Dunn once again in 2019's Glass.

M Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Shyamalan said in a 2020 interview with The New Indian Express that he and Willis have remained friends over the years, telling the outlet, "Bruce and I have actually stayed in touch and our families have stayed close. So, we've stayed in touch and he's always been the big brother in my life … since I was a little kid, you know."

He added, "He's the one that took the big risk on me and protected me."

The two had so much trust in each other that Willis even signed onto Unbreakable without reading a script, as Willis told PEOPLE at the film's 1998 premiere party.

"There was no script when I said yes. It was just an idea," Willis said. "[Shyamalan] wouldn't tell me anything, he wouldn't tell anybody. He just said, 'I have an idea for a script that I want to write for you.' I said, 'I'm in.' "

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Willis is stepping away from acting after decades in the spotlight due to health complications. The actor's daughters Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Mabel Willis and Evelyn Willis, along with Bruce's wife Emma Heming Willis and his ex-wife Demi Moore, shared the news of his aphasia diagnosis in an emotional Instagram post Wednesday.

"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 added.

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Aphasia "robs you of the ability to communicate" and "can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written," according to the Mayo Clinic.

Willis' family closed out their note by stating, "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."

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