The Willis family released a statement Thursday afternoon giving an update on Bruce’s condition which has progressed to a form of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) (also known as Pick’s Disease).
Bruce’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, shared the news via an Instagram post, with a full statement given on the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration’s (AFTD) website.
“As a family, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the outpouring of love and compassion for Bruce over the past ten months,” the statement started. “Your generosity of spirit has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously grateful for it. For your kindness, and because we know you love Bruce as much as we do, we wanted to give you an update.
“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD). Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”
According to the AFTD website, FTD “represents a group of brain disorders caused by degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain.”
“The progression of symptoms – in behavior, language, and/or movement – varies by individual, but FTD brings an inevitable decline in functioning,” the AFTD details. “The length of progression varies from 2 to over 20 years. As the disease progresses, the person affected may experience increasing difficulty in planning or organizing activities. They may behave inappropriately in social or work settings, and have trouble communicating with others, or relating to loved ones.”
As stated by both the website and in the statement given by the Willis family, there currently is no cure for the disease, in which the Willis’ 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,” they added.
In 2022, the family announced that Bruce was going to be stepping away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition “that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written,” usually caused by a stroke or head injury.
“Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately,” the statement continued. “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.
“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 encourages fans and people around the world to read up on the disease and get involved in ways that you can help. AFTD’s website has many resources and methods of helping further their research, as well as giving support to victims and family members of those diagnosed with the incurable disease.
“Donations drive every aspect of AFTD’s work, sustaining and expanding our programs to provide support, education, and resources to people navigating a diagnosis, while advancing research to bring forward treatments and a cure,” according to the website.
In the 2022 statement the family gave regarding his aphasia diagnosis, they concluded by writing, “We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
And stay together they have, with the strength from his children, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn, his wife, Emma Heming, and his ex-wife, Demi Moore, they’ve shown nothing but strength and support in these difficult times. They couldn’t have carried through it without his loyal fans, so hold Bruce and his family in your thoughts and keep hope alive that he may push through this in due time.