Bruce Willis is “stepping away” from his acting career after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that affects the ability to communicate, members of his family announced on social media Wednesday.
“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,” they said in the statement, which appeared alongside a photo of Willis in a bathrobe and sunglasses. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
“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,” the statement continued. “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia typically occurs suddenly, after a stroke or a head injury, and can affect a person’s ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written. The condition can also gradually occur “from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage.”
The Willis family did not disclose the cause of the 67-year-old actor’s aphasia.
Willis shot to fame in the 1980s in the ABC series “Moonlighting,” for which he won an Emmy and Golden Globe. His big break as a movie actor came in 1988 when he starred as police detective John McClane in the action smash “Die Hard,” later reprising the role across four sequels. He also won acclaim for his performances in “Pulp Fiction,” “The Sixth Sense” and “Sin City.”
The actor is due to appear in several films to be released this year, including “Gasoline Alley” and “Fortress: Sniper’s Eye.”