Bruce Willis, dementia
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 15: Actor Bruce Willis looks on prior to the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 15, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Hollywood legend and action star Bruce Willis has been formally diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

In an official statement made by the actor’s family – including former wife Demi Moore and daughter Rumor Willis – late on Thursday, it was announced that Willis’ earlier diagnosis of aphasia had progressed.

In a statement shared on Bruce Willis’ official Instagram, and signed as The Ladies of Willis/Moore, they said “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.”

Acccording to medical sites, frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, “causes progressive damage to either or both the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain…[and] can affect one or more of the following: behaviour, personality, language and movement.”

Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988). Image: YouTube

Back in early 2022, the Die Hard and The Fifth Element star had previously been diagnosed with aphasia, a cognitive disorder that affected the ability of speech. His family announced that, due to the impact this had on his ability as an actor, he would retire from the industry.

According to reports, colleagues then had been worried about the actor’s health for some time saying that they witnessed a “loss of mental acuity and an inability to remember his dialogue.”

Bruce Willis and Meryl Street in Death Becomes Her. Image: YouTube

While many remember Willis for his roles in some of the biggest – and best – action movies including the aforementioned Die Hard series, Pulp Fiction and The Last Boy Scout, Willis’ early career was marked by flawless comedic timing; a wisecracking, scene-stealing observer who could deliver lines so subtly that the joke would only sneak up on you later.

Moonlighting, Look Who’s Talking, The Bonfire of the Vanities and the absolute gem that is Death Becomes Her – all showcasing Willis’ talent for delivery and nuance.

Not to mention his award-winning role as Dr Malcolm Crowe in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense.