Bruce Willis is “stepping away” from his acting career due to a diagnosis of aphasia, a language disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate, his family announced in a statement 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. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” reads the statement that first appeared on the Instagram page of Willis’ ex-wife, Demi Moore.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” the statement continues. “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. Love, Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel & Evelyn.”
Emma Heming Willis is Willis’s wife and the mother to his children Mabel and Evelyn. Moore is the mother of Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.
Reps for Bruce Willis did not immediately respond to MovieMaker‘s request for comment.
Willis first broke out in the television series Moonlighting opposite Cybill Shepherd from 1985 to 1989, and shot to stardom with his first franchise film, Die Hard, in 1988. He went on to star in films like The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, The Story of Us, The Kid, Red, Breakfast of Champions, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, Midnight in the Switchgrass. His most recent film, A Day to Die, premiered on March 4.
Tributes to Willis spread quickly.
“All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis,” wrote The Sixth Sense writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. “I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as kid.”
“Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read,” wrote Kevin Smith, who directed Willis in Cop Out. “He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to BW and his family.” (He was referring to gripes about Willis he aired on a 2011 episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.)
“I have so much love for Bruce Willis, and am grateful for every character he’s given us. Hugs and love for the whole family- thank you for sharing him with us all,” wrote Seth Green.
Here is the message shared by several members of his family Wednesday:
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Main Image: Bruce Willis at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2006 in Cannes, France. Courtesy of Shutterstock