Bruce Willis, Diagnosed With Aphasia, Has Retired From Acting

Bruce Willis wearing a tuxedo
Photo by Rich Fury via Getty Images

Wednesday afternoon brought devastating news from the many, many fans of Bruce Willis across the globe. In a joint Instagram post, the 67-year-old actor’s family announced that after a decades-long career at the top tier of Hollywood, Willis has been forced to retire. “Our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” the statement began. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

“We are moving together as a strong family unit,” Willis’s ex-wife Demi Moore and their children Rumer, Scout, and Tullulah, as well as his wife Emma Heming Willis and their children Mabel and Evelyn, continued. “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.” They ended the statement on a relatively positive note by referencing one of Willis’s catchphrases: “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.” Demi Mazar was among the first to respond to Moore’s post, writing, “Bruce has given us sooo much! What an amazing career. May he rest and recover 🙏🏻.” Jamie Lee Curtis and Rita Wilson also jumped into the comments, wishing the Willises “grace and guts” and sending their prayers.

If you aren’t among those who’ve caused Google searches for “aphasia” to spike over the past few hours, we’ll give you a brief primer. The condition causes brain damage, causing gradual loss of the ability to understand or express speech and often the ability to read or write. The most common cause is brain injury resulting from a stroke. (You can read more about it here.)

Renowned for his role in films like the Die Hard franchise, Death Becomes Her, The Fifth Element and The Sixth Sense, as well as his Emmy-winning role in the ABC series Moonlighting earlier in his career, Willis also displayed a knack for working with exciting auteurs as well. He worked with Quintin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction, Wes Anderson on Moonlight Kingdom, and Terry Gilliam on 12 Monkeys. Fortunately, we haven’t seen the last of him on screen. The actor has no less than eight completed projects listed on his IMDb page, which will roll out over the course of this year (and perhaps 2023).