Nearly a year ago, 67-year-old actor Bruce Willis’ family announced he would be retiring from acting due to a diagnosis of aphasia, a comprehension and communication disorder resulting from damage or injury to the specific area in the brain.
Unfortunately, his condition has worsened, and his family has since issued a new statement saying Willis has now been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, which is hindering his ability to communicate even further.
“While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” the family wrote in their statement. “FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone.”
FTD is a “group of disorders caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes or temporal lobes,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This damage to the nerve cells eventually leads to loss of function in the brain regions, which causes deterioration in behavior, personality and difficulty with communication and speech.
Sadly, there are no specific treatments at this time for FTD, which inevitably worsens over time.
“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 family wrote.
“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.”
Willis’ family encourages others who are facing this same condition to seek out support and information through The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD).