This article isn’t action related at all and a sad reminder that even our action heroes are quite human after all. Last year, it was made public that Hollywood star Bruce Willis was suffering from a neurological disorder that was forcing him to retire from the silver screen. A year after being diagnosed with aphasia, the legendary actor known for playing hot tempered and never quit cop John McClane in the Die Hard films, was now suffering even more after his condition has evolved into frontotemporal dementia.
While Willis was suffering secretly behind the scenes, the action star has opted to star in DTV films in more minor roles to work as long as he can. This was to lighten his work load as he came to terms with how to battle the disorder that had befallen him. His family announced that last March, Willis had officially retired from acting as his condition had gotten worse.
Willis’ family released a statement on Thursday detailing his latest diagnosis and what has transpired since.
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,” wrote his family in a public statement on the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s website.
Willis has been a staple in Hollywood ever since the 80’s and has been one of Tinseltown‘s last, true stars and there will never be another one like Bruno. He could deliver the cleverest of jokes while unloading a pistol and his sharp wit was equal to none. Willis was an actor that could do it all. He even branched out into singing back in the 80’s and was a true entrepreneur in the entertainment industry.
I, for one, know what Willis is going through as I was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (or FND) back in 2021. It attacked my brain and made communication from the brain to my body non existent for a time. I had to basically learn how to walk, talk and do normal every day functions so it was quite the harrowing journey and I’ve I wouldn’t wish on an enemy.
My disorder was able to be treated with mental and physical therapy and have since improved over time thanks to my doctors, therapists and of course my loving family. I was one of the lucky ones and I can’t even imagine what Willis is going through as his condition is far worse.
MayoClinic.org defines Frontotemporal dementia as:
Frontotemporal dementia is an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior, and language.
In frontotemporal dementia, portions of these lobes shrink (atrophy). Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which part of the brain is affected. Some people with frontotemporal dementia have dramatic changes in their personalities and become socially inappropriate, impulsive, or emotionally indifferent, while others lose the ability to use language properly.
Frontotemporal dementia can be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem or as Alzheimer’s disease. But frontotemporal dementia tends to occur at a younger age than does Alzheimer’s disease. Frontotemporal dementia often begins between the ages of 40 and 65 but occurs later in life as well. FTD is the cause of approximately 10% to 20% of dementia cases.
Here is the Willis family’s full message to the public in regards to Bruce:
As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months. Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update.
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.
FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. 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.
Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. 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.
Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD (@theaftd, theaftd.org). And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way you can.
I have been a fan of Bruce Willis ever since Moonlighting so I’ve been there from the beginning. Willis is a true Hollywood icon and has hit slam dunks in all genres especially action cinema with his legendary roles in the Die Hard films as well as others like The Last Boyscout and The Fifth Element to name just a few.
Myself and everyone related with Action-Flix would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to Bruce and his family in this trying time. He will always entertain us for years to come with his extensive filmography and again there will never be another one like him. I hope that in the future, doctors find treatments for disorders like this and hopefully Willis will benefit and still live a long and happy life.
Yippee Ki-Yay Bruce….you are the best of the best.