Actor Bruce Willis is stepping away from his career after he was diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder caused by brain damage that affects a person’s ability to communicate. His family issued a statement on social media announcing the actor’s retirement.
“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,” the statement reads, according to Variety. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
The 67-year-old actor suffers from a condition that affects a person’s ability to speak, write and understand language both verbal and written, says Fox News. “It 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,” says the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Gary Small, chair of psychiatry at Hackensack University Medical Center, tells Newsmax that “Aphasia is the inability to understand and/or express speech as a result of brain damage. Some people who suffer from aphasia do recover without treatment; however, most have lingering issues. Speech therapy can improve some speech and language abilities but communicating can still be an issue.”
Willis’ family statement continued to say that “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 say, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
Willis’ acting career exploded in the late 1980’s thanks to his starring role opposite Cybill Shepherd in the ABC series “Moonlighting,” says Variety. His performance as John McClane in the 1988 action movie “Die Hard” gave Willis his first major film franchise and over the past four decades his films have grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
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