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17th Feb 2023

Bruce Willis diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia as family release emotional statement

Steve Hopkins

‘While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis’

Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), his family announced in an emotional social media post on Thursday.

The Pulp Fiction and Fifth Element actor was diagnosed in March 2022 with aphasia, a condition affecting the brain which causes difficulty with language and speech, and stepped back from acting.

The 67-year-old’s family – his current wife, Emma Heming Willis, and his former wife Demi Moore, as well as his children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn – shared an update on the progression of his condition, revealing that Bruce now has a more “specific diagnosis”.


They said: “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.”

According to the NHS, FTD causes changes to personality, behaviour, language and movement, due to the areas of the brain that it affects, the front and sides of the brain. The onset of the disease, as with other forms of dementia, is slow to begin with but gradually gets worse.

Bruce’s family expressed their “deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love” they had received since his asphasia’s diagnosis.

“Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it”, the statement reads.

The family hopes that by publicising Bruce’s condition it will bring public attention to FTD, which there are currently no treatments for: “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.”

The family hope the understanding and respect shown by the public would “enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible”.

“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,” they said.

Bruce rose to national attention alongside Cybill Shepherd in the 1980s TV hit Moonlighting. Over four decades he starred in more than 100 films, which have amassed over $5bn (£4.17bn) at the box office worldwide.

Read the full statement from Bruce’s family here.

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