Beloved actor Bruce Willis and his family have received more painful news regarding his health. He has been diagnosed with a form of dementia less than a year after he was initially diagnosed with aphasia, a communication disorder.
On Thursday, members of Willis' inner circle issued a statement to announce that he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, "the most common form of dementia" for those under 60. Willis is 67.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, FTD is "a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell lossin the brain’s frontal lobes (the areas behind your forehead) or its temporal lobes (the regions behind your ears)." The statement from Willis' family added that "challenges with communication are just one symptom" of FTD.
The family called FTD a "debilitating disease" that is likely to progress. However, despite the challenges that they have already faced and will continue to face, they are also grateful that Willis finally received "a clear diagnosis," as FTD can sometimes take years to diagnose.
The statement also explained the family's desire to bring greater awareness to FTD in the hopes of drawing more research funding and interest. "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 said.
The family also expressed their appreciation for all the love and support that fans from around the world have showered upon the actor, whose Hollywood career first began 45 years ago.
"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 family said.
The statement was signed by wife Emma Heming Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore, and his five daughters, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn.
Willis is perhaps best known for action-packed blockbuster films like "Die Hard," "Armageddon," and "Pulp Fiction." In 1987, he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical for his role as L.A. Detective David Addison on the popular show "Moonlighting."
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