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Bruce Willis’ Health Update: Living with Dementia – What You Need to Know

According to an essay authored by Bruce Willis' daughter Tallulah and published in Vogue in May 2023.

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Bruce Willis’ Health Update: Amidst renewed interest in actor Bruce Willis’ health, “Moonlighting,” one of his most cherished television series, was recently made available via streaming.

Willis and Cybill Shepherd portrayed detectives on the 1980s series, which was conceived by Glenn Gordon Caron. Emma Heming Willis, the spouse of the “Die Hard” actor, expressed her delight at the show’s expansion to streaming on Instagram, writing, “What wonderful news!”

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Fans are given the opportunity to relive one of Willis’ initial performances approximately one and a half years after the announcement of his retirement from acting due to aphasia. Generally a symptom of a distinct condition, such as a stroke, aphasia pertains to communication impairments, particularly speech difficulties.

The Willis family disclosed in February 2023, nearly a year after the action star’s retirement was announced in March 2022, that the action star’s condition had worsened to the point where he had been formally diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Memory is comparatively less impacted by this form of cognitive degeneration, which affects regions of the brain responsible for regulating communication and behavior, among other functions.

Since Willis’s family disclosed he was afflicted with FTD, they have shared moments from his medical voyage. In late September, as part of World FTD Awareness Week, Heming Willis visited TODAY to bring attention to the condition. During the interview, he provided an update on Bruce Willis’ health and discussed his experience as his “care partner.”

The following information pertains to Bruce Willis’ health in 2023.

Bruce Willis’ Health Update

Heming Willis last disclosed information regarding her husband’s health on September 25 during an exclusive interview with TODAY. This was the first time since the public announcement of Bruce Willis’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

“Dementia is hard,” Heming Willis said. “It’s hard on the person diagnosed, it’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce, or myself, or our girls. When they say this is a family disease, it really is.”

When asked whether her spouse was informed of the situation, Heming Willis responded, “It is hard to know.”

She further stated that while it has been “devastating” to accept his prognosis, “knowing what is happening to Bruce makes it a little easier.”

She added that it has been “beautiful amid the sadness” to observe how her two daughters with the actor, Mabel and Evelyn, are learning “love, patience, and resiliency” from their father’s care.

In February 2023, the Willis family shared in a statement that they finally had a “clear diagnosis” of frontotemporal dementia, adding that “challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces.”

Subsequently, his family has recounted instances during his journey that have provided insight into the advancement of his condition. In August 2023, for instance, Heming Willis disclosed that she frequently finds it difficult to maintain a positive attitude while caring for her spouse.

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“I have to make a conscious effort every single day to live the best life that I can,” she said in an Instagram video. “I do that for myself. I do that for our two children and Bruce, who would not want me to live any other way.”

“So I don’t want it to be misconstrued that, like, I’m good — because I’m not good,” she continued. “But I have to put my best foot forward for the sake of myself and my family.”

On Father’s Day earlier this summer, Bruce Willis was in a satisfactory health condition to meet his April 2023-born granddaughter, Louetta, who is the offspring of his eldest daughter, Rumer.

“Seeing my father hold my daughter today was something I will treasure for the rest of my life. His sweetness and love for her was so pure and beautiful,” Rumer Willis wrote on Instagram on June 18. “Papa I’m so lucky to have you and so is Lou. Thank you for being the silliest, most loving, coolest Daddio a girl could ask for. Best Girl Dad in the game …”

Heming Willis also expressed “deep appreciation and respect” for her husband, who continues to provide for their daughters Mabel and Evelyn despite the progression of his illness, in an article for Father’s Day 2023. “Whatever he teaches them, even if it is not considered ‘conventional,’ will endure for generations. She wrote on Instagram, “Unconditional love, kindness, strength, compassion, patience, generosity, and resiliency.”

The 45-year-old mother of two subsequently posted a photograph with Bruce Willis on her birthday, accompanied by a message urging her audience to provide assistance to the caregivers in her life.

The Willis family also commemorated his birthday in 2023 by sharing a video of Bruce Willis to Moore’s Twitter account—the first public image of him since the announcement of his diagnosis. He makes a lighthearted remark about the vocal range of his wife and daughters as they sing “Happy Birthday” to him in the background of the adorable footage.

Bruce Willis’ Health Update: What happened to Bruce Willis?

Bruce Willis was forced to resign from acting after receiving a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Prior to disclosing his prognosis to the public in 2023, his family disclosed in March 2022 that he was compelled to withdraw from the entertainment industry due to aphasia. Aphasia manifests as difficulties with writing, reading, comprehension, or speech.

Prior to now, experts told that aphasia could be brought on by a disease such as frontotemporal dementia, in which case the communication difficulties worsen over time, or by a head injury or stroke, with typically abrupt onset.

According to an essay authored by Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah and published in Vogue in May 2023, the actor’s frontotemporal dementia “progressively impairs his cognition and behavior.”

What were the initial indications of dementia in Bruce Willis?

The early signs of Bruce Willis’ dementia included difficulty communicating, aka aphasia, and “a vague unresponsiveness,” Tallula Willis wrote in her Vogue essay, “which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss: ‘Speak up! ‘Die Hard’ messed with Dad’s ears.’”

“Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally. He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me,” Tallulah Willis continued, later noting that this “couldn’t have been farther from the truth.”

She came to the realization that her father’s health was deteriorating while attending a wedding and listening to the father of the bride deliver a moving speech.

“Suddenly I realized that I would never get that moment, my dad speaking about me in adulthood at my wedding. It was devastating,” she recalled. “I left the dinner table, stepped outside, and wept in the bushes.”

FTD patients may experience challenges in verbal communication, comprehension of verbal exchanges, and interpretation of meanings, according to a statement made to previously by Dr. Jagan Pillai, a neurologist at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic.

Did Bruce Willis retire?

Indeed, Bruce Willis’s retirement from acting was officially declared in March 2022, subsequent to the disclosure by his family that he had been afflicted with aphasia. Aphasia, a manifestation accompanied by dementia and other ailments, manifests as challenges in verbal and written comprehension as well as speech.

What is the state of Bruce Willis’s health?

Bruce Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a multifactorial neurodegenerative disorder, according to an announcement made by his family in February 2023. The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are affected by FTD. The onset of symptoms typically occurs around age 58, which is earlier than other degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, according to the Cleveland Clinic. FTD is distinguished from other types of dementia in that memory problems are not its defining characteristic.

“When the majority of people hear the term dementia, they immediately think of Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems, but FTD does not manifest itself as memory problems… “It influences how individuals speak, interact with others, and behave,” Dr. Sami Barmada, associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medicine and director of the Michigan Brain Bank, told previously.

Primary progressive aphasia, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic, is a form of FTD. Stroke can also induce aphasia; in such instances, the onset of speech impairment is typically abrupt. However, progressive aphasia, which Bruce Willis most likely has, typically begins benign and worsens over time, according to Barmada.

In addition to apathy or reluctance to communicate, additional prevalent symptoms of FTD encompass personality alterations, heightened depression, impaired social abilities, and compulsive conduct.

“It doesn’t look like a dementia or something that you can put your finger on. … Very often you’ll hear people say they just started to act really weird, and they’re not the same person,” Barmada said.

How long can you survive Bruce Willis’s illness?

Seven to thirteen years is the average life expectancy for those diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, including Bruce Willis. This information was obtained from the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. According to Cleveland Clinic, the expected lifespan is seven and a half years.

Eric Joseph Gomes
Eric Joseph Gomes
Seasoned professional blog writer with a passion for delivering high-quality content that informs, educates, and engages readers.

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