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Bruce Willis forced to give up acting after shock medical diagnosis

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Hollywood star Bruce Willis will be stepping away from acting after a cognitive disorder caused by brain damage has left him with impaired communication and comprehension abilities.


The Die Hard icon is set to retire from his decades-long acting career after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition which impairs ones ability to understand or express language and speech.

Demi Moore posted a statement about her ex-husband's diagnosis to her Instagram on Thursday.

"To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities."

The post went on to say, "as a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."

Understandably the diagnosis and decision have been "a really challenging time" for the Willis family, but they wanted to share the news with Bruce's fans as "we know how much he means to you, as you do to him."

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, aphasia is a "disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language."

The illness "usually occurs suddenly, often following a stroke or head injury, but it may also develop slowly, as the result of a brain tumor or a progressive neurological disease."

The NIDCD notes that the disorder affects and "impairs the expression and understanding of language as well as reading and writing."

"Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these areas are on the left side of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often following a stroke or head injury, but it may also develop slowly, as the result of a brain tumor or a progressive neurological disease. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language as well as reading and writing. Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders, such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage."

The 67-year-old star made his big-break sharing the screen with Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting, before becoming John McClane in the Die Hard franchise and starring in Pulp Fiction in 1994, Armaggeddon in 1998, The Sixth Sense in 1999 and a long-list of other film and television appearances that followed.

Willis recently finished work on Vendetta and Fortress: Sniper's Eye, and will feature in six films which are currently in post-production including Die Like Lovers, White Elephant and Paradise City.

He was also in the midst of working on Fortress 3 when his shock medical announcement was made, and it's unsure how and if his involvement in the production will continue.


Image: EPA/WILL OLIVER