Die Hard actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, his family has announced.
The Hollywood actor was previously diagnosed with aphasia, a condition affecting his cognitive abilities, and announced his retirement.
In a post shared on Instagram on Thursday, Willis’s daughter Rumer offered an update on her father’s health, confirming his condition has “progressed” and he had been given the “more specific” diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.
The 67-year-old’s family expressed their “deepest gratitude” for the “outpouring of love” they had received since the announcement.
“In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing,” the statement wrote.
“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.”
Willis’ family explained the condition, known as FTD, in a further statement on the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration website.
The condition is the most common form of dementia in people under 60, and the family said they hoped media attention on the actor’s condition would raise awareness.
“FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone,” their statement read.
“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.”
The statement continued: “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.
“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.”
The statement was signed by members of Willis’ family including his wife Emma Heming, former wife Demi Moore and his daughters.
According to the NHS, frontotemporal dementia is an “uncommon” form of the disease that causes the sufferer problems with behaviour and language.