Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his family said in a statement on Thursday. The news comes nearly a year after the actor’s family shared that he would be stepping back from acting because he had been diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder.
“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),” the family’s statement, which was published with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, said. “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.”
Scout Willis, the actor’s second daughter with ex-wife Demi Moore, wrote on her Instagram story on Thursday night that she was, “Feeling emotionally tired and a bit overwhelmed, yet also very in awe of the love so many people have for my papa.” Her sisters, Rumer and Tallulah, reshared her story on their own accounts.
Willis’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, posted a photo of Willis to Instagram with a caption sharing the news about his condition. “Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis,” it reads. Moore posted the same message and photo.
FTD is one of several types of dementia and is the most common type of dementia for people under 60, according to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, which published a statement about Willis. It causes nerve damage in the frontal and temporal lobes, leading to loss of function in those areas, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition to causing challenges with communication, it can lead to changes in a person’s personality and behavior. It also leads to the emergence of new symptoms as it progresses. Currently, no treatments can slow or stop FTD, and there is no cure or way to prevent its onset. Average life expectancy is seven to 13 years after the start of symptoms.