Less than a year after retiring from acting due to deteriorating cognitive abilities, action icon Bruce Willis has been identified as having incurable dementia, his family announced on Thursday.
The 67-year-old American actor best known for his part in the “Die Hard” series left Hollywood in March and hasn’t been in the spotlight 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,” a statement said.
The term frontotemporal dementia (FTD) refers to a variety of conditions that affect the parts of the brain that control personality, behaviour, and language.
“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces,” the family statement said. “While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.
“Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead.”
According to medical professionals, FTD patients have smaller frontal and temporal lobes in their brains. It is unknown what causes this, however it may lead to personality changes or behavioural changes that make a person appear careless, impetuous, or socially unacceptable to people around them.
Some patients lose their capacity to speak.
According to the Mayo Clinic, FTD, which accounts for up to a fifth of all dementia cases, can start between the ages of 40 and 65.
The actor’s children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn, as well as his ex spouse, actress Demi Moore, all signed the family statement, which said that Willis had always fought to spread awareness of significant causes.