Bruce Willis, 67, Has Been Diagnosed With Aphasia And Is 'Stepping Away' From Acting

People with aphasia lose the ability to speak or process language, typically after a stroke or brain injury.

Bruce Willis attends a photocall to present the movie "R.E.D." at the Regent Hotel on October 18, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, his family has announced. The 67-year-old is "stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him" after "much consideration." His family members revealed that Willis was recently diagnosed with aphasia, "which is impacting his cognitive abilities." "This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support," said his family—which includes his wife Emma Heming Willis, ex-wife Demi Moore, and his five daughters: Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Mabel Willis, and Evelyn Willis. "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."


The actor is best known for his roles in action flicks where he's a tough guy with a heart of gold. He's been a part of iconic films like Pulp Fiction, Armageddon, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys, and Sin City. The Die Hard actor has appeared in 15 movies released in the past two and a half years, according to PEOPLE. In 2019, he starred in Glass (reprising his role from 2000's Unbreakable) as well as the Edward Norton-directed Motherless Brooklyn. His other recent films include 10 Minutes Gone, Trauma Center, Survive the Night, Hard Kill, Breach, Cosmic Sin, Midnight in the Switchgrass, Out of Death, Survive the Game, Apex, Deadlock, Fortress, American Siege, Gasoline Alley, and A Day to Die.


As for the disorder, aphasia can affect the ability to speak and understand language. According to Mayo Clinic, aphasia robs you of the ability to communicate and can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written. "Aphasia is the inability to communicate or speak," May Kim-Tenser, MD, a neurologist with Keck Medicine of USC, shared, as per Pop Sugar. "Usually aphasia occurs after a stroke, and it's pretty sudden in onset, or it can occur after a head injury," Dr. Kim-Tenser continued. Aphasia may also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a degenerative disease, such as dementia. "Usually [aphasia caused by those conditions] is chronic and happens over time," Dr. Kim-Tenser explained. "If you see aphasia that happens all of a sudden, it's usually due to a stroke." Those with risk factors for stroke (including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol) are also at higher risk for aphasia. People who are over the age of 65 and those with a family history of stroke are also at higher risk.