Los Angles: Bruce Willis, the actor best known for his work in the Die Hard films, is to retire from the industry after being diagnosed with aphasia.
A joint statement was posted on his family’s social media accounts, explaining that Willis had 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.”
The statement continued: “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. 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.”
The 67-year-old film star is best known for playing John McClane in the iconic Die Hard franchise. The original 1988 film made Willis a film and action star after he was mainly known as a comedic TV actor, specifically in the series Moonlighting.
Willis was immediately trending on social media as the news broke, and fans were sharing their disbelief and sadness over the development.
Aphasia is a condition that robs one of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.
Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumour or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage (degenerative). The severity of the aphasia depends on a number of conditions, including the cause and the extent of the brain damage.
Once the cause has been addressed, the main treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy. The person with aphasia relearns and practices language skills and learns to use other ways to communicate. Family members often participate in the process, helping the person communicate.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Die Hard” star’s blended family — including Moore, 59, and Heming, 43 — have been holed up at their Idaho compound. While the arrangement felt odd to outsiders, the “G.I. Jane” star said she considered Heming to be her “sister.”
“Our children are sisters and yet there is no name for what our family connection is to one another,” Moore wrote on Instagram in March 2021 in honour of International Women’s Day. “We are mothers united, sisters bonded on this crazy adventure of life. Emma is a beautiful mother dedicated to her family and absolutely gorgeous woman and now she can add business entrepreneur to her resume.
“Her drive, determination and passion are uplifting and the woman that she is absolutely inspiring,” she concluded.
Willis was also known for his appearances in military movies and visited Iraq on a 2003 USO tour.
He was born in West Germany in 1955 to a military family. When he was two his family moved to New Jersey and he joined his high school drama club to help overcome his stutter.
After working as a security guard in the 1970s, Willis started a drama course at Montclair State University and later in the decade moved to New York City to start his career as an actor. He played a number of off-Broadway roles before moving to California and securing the role in Moonlighting.
His first lead role in a feature film was in 1987’s Blind Date.
Willis had a semi-successful music career, releasing 1987’s The Return Of Bruno, a blues and soul record which came out on the Motown label. Its lead single, “Respect Yourself”, a duet with June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, was a Top 10 hit in the US and UK.
In the 1990s Willis appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic Pulp Fiction, and he later went on to score an Emmy for his work as Rachel’s father in Friends, returning to the small screen.
In 2015 Willis made his Broadway debut in a critically-panned production of Stephen King’s Misery.