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The family of megastar Bruce Willis issued a new statement on Thursday about the actor’s health, confirming that his condition has worsened and he’s now facing frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which is hindering his ability to communicate. The news comes nearly a year after his family confirmed that Willis, 67, would be stepping away from acting due to an initial diagnosis of aphasia.
“While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” reads the official statement, attributed to wife Emma Heming Willis, ex-wife Demi Moore and his children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn. “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone.”
The initial statement, seen above, was posted on Rumer’s Instagram account and immediately drew well wishes from stars like Aaron Paul, Jonathan Tucker, Alyssa Milano, Wilmer Valderrama and more. “Sending hugs to you and that beautiful family of yours. Your pops is such a damn legend,” posted Paul. “Love this whole family,” responded Jonathan Tucker. Milano wrote, “Sending you love,” as did Valderrama.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, FTD refers to “a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind your forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind your ears).” The nerve cell damage leads to loss of function in the brain regions and that can cause deterioration in behavior, personality and/or difficulty with speech and communication. Medication can help reduce irritability and depression but there are no specific treatments for FTD, which invariably gets worse over time. The speed of decline varies from case to case, per the association.
Read the family’s full statement below.
As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months. Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update.
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.
FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research.
Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.
Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD (@theaftd, theaftd.org). And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way you can.
Bruce has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same. It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us. We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.
— Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn
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