Last year, Bruce Willis announced that he will be retiring from acting after getting diagnosed with aphasia. Fast forward to today and his family has revealed the Die Hard actor's condition has gotten worse. The family shared that a more precise diagnosis has been given and that they now know what Bruce's condition is.
What Is Aphasia?
On March 31, 2022, Bruce's eldest daughter with Demi Moore, Rumer Willis, shared on Instagram that aphasia was affecting the cognitive abilities of Bruce.
"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."
The post was signed by other family members: Emma, Demi, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn.
But what is aphasia and is it curable?
Aphasia is a disorder that comes from damage to certain brain portions that are responsible for language. The damage could come from stroke, head injury, or a tumour; which usually develops slowly. A person suffering from aphesia has trouble comprehending speech, reading, or writing. The estimated number of Americans that get affected by aphasia is two million and every year, almost 180,000 people get diagnosed every year (National Aphasia Association).
The condition usually affects middle-aged or older individuals, but anyone can get it. The leading causes of aphasia is a stroke, which cuts off blood flow to this part of the brain.
There are two categories of aphasia-- fluent and non-fluent. Under these categories, they are further divided into various types. On February 16, 2023, Bruce's wife, Emma Heming Willis shared an Instagram post that further describes Bruce's condition.
"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."
What Is FTD?
The clearer diagnosis of Bruce Willis' condition was revealed to be FTD, or frontemporal dementia. This is a collective brain disorder caused by the degeneration of the brain's frontal and/or temporal lobes. It affects a person's language, movement, and behavior. Aphasia is a symptom.
The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) says the average life expectancy of a person diagnosed with FTD is 7 to 13 years from the onset of the symptoms. The condition is described as "an inevitable decline" in one's functioning.
As it turned out, the aphasia that was diagnosed in Bruce Willis last year was just one sign of his real condition, FTD.
Can Bruce Willis’ New Condition Still Be Treated?
Right now, there is no cure for FTD. There have also been no treatments that has been reported to slow or stop the disease's progression. There are, however, ways to manage its symptoms.
In the case of Bruce Willis, he continues to spend his time with his blended family. A source close to the family shared that Bruce's wife of 13 years, Emma, is "trying to make as many positive memories for them as she can. She wants them to remember Bruce as an amazing, fun dad. She wants them to have the best memories of him."
And true enough, Bruce's family is "all closer than ever" as he is surrounded by Emma, his ex-wife, Demi, and their children: Mabel, Evelyn, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.
The source also revealed that Bruce is "happy about becoming a grandpa" following news of Rumer's pregnancy with boyfriend, Derek Richard Thomas.
"Bruce is enjoying not working and having more family time. He likes being around his girls more."
Epicstream wishes the Willis family well. Here's a look back at Bruce Willis' best movies.
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