Action star Bruce Willis is stepping away from his acting career at age 67 after being diagnosed with aphasia, his family have said in a statement.
“Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” Willis’s family wrote in an Instagram post early on Wednesday morning local time.
“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
The Die Hard star’s family uploaded the statement on their respective Instagram accounts, which was signed by his current wife Emma Heming Willis, ex-wife Demi Moore, and his other children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn, along with an image of the actor.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” the statement read.
“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.”
Aphasia can cause a person difficulty with their language or speech, and can also hamper one’s reading, listening, typing or writing ability.
Speaking problems are most common and can involve putting words together incorrectly.
The illness can occur after strokes or head injuries but can also arise over time due to brain tumours or degenerative diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Willis’s acting career began in the early 1980s but he did not become a household name until later in that decade — first after starring opposite Cybill Shepherd in the comedy-drama series Moonlighting — and then in his 1988 performance as John McClane in the first Die Hard film.
The role was an iconic one that he would reprise four times over the following 25 years.
He appeared in about 100 films during his four-decade career, winning acclaim for roles in Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, Twelve Monkeys and The Sixth Sense.
He also made three albums as a singer — his cover of Under the Boardwalk got to No 2 in the UK singles chart – and starred in multiple stage productions, making his Broadway debut in 2015 with a revival of Misery.
Willis has won one Golden Globe Award and two Emmys.