Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting after a diagnosis of aphasia, a condition that causes loss of the ability to understand or express speech, his family announced Wednesday.
In a statement posted on Willis’ Instagram page, the 67-year-old actor’s family said Willis was recently diagnosed with aphasia and that it 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,” read the statement signed by Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore, and his five children, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn.
“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,” they said. “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
Aphasia typically occurs after a stroke or head injury, but can also develop gradually due to a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes degenerative damage. It is treated primarily with speech therapy and learning non-verbal means of communication.
The news about Willis, one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors, immediately spread online as fans and peers reacted (scroll down for tweets).
His four-decade career has amassed more than $5 billion in box office worldwide from big hits such as the “Die Hard” movie series, “Pulp Fiction” and “The Sixth Sense.”
Willis had been working steadily and frequently. He has shot numerous action thrillers that are due out in 2022, including “Gasoline Alley,” “A Day to Die” and “Fortress: Sniper’s Eye.”
Top: Actors Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson attend the premiere of “Glass” at the SVA Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)