Hollywood actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a cruel and progressive neurological disorder, his family has announced.
The Die Hard star’s family released a statement Tuesday saying Willis was diagnosed with the disorder, also known as FTD, following aphasia, a language disorder.
“It is a devastating diagnosis and one that his family is still coming to terms with,” the statement said.
FTD is a group of disorders that affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain and can cause changes in behavior, language, and movement. Symptoms can include difficulty with language, difficulty with decision-making, and changes in personality.
Willis’ family said they are “incredibly thankful and encouraged by Bruce’s courage, strength, and spirit during this journey.”
“We ask that you please respect the family’s need for privacy and sensitivity as they navigate this new terrain,” the statement said.
The statement did not offer any further information on Willis’ diagnosis or prognosis.
The actor, who is best known for his roles in Die Hard and The Sixth Sense, has been in the spotlight since the late 1970s and has acted in dozens of films and television shows. He is also a father of five children.
In recent years, Willis has been more active in philanthropic work, including creating a foundation to help veterans and their families.
The news of Willis’ diagnosis has sparked an outpouring of support from fans, friends, and colleagues.
“He has been a role model for so many, and we hope his courage and strength will continue to inspire others,” the statement said.