Bruce Willis has announced his retirement from acting due to a neurological disorder that impacts his ability to communicate.
The 67-year-old action star has been diagnosed with aphasia, a medical condition caused by brain damage.
Members of Willis’ family, including his ex-wife Demi Moore and the couple’s daughter Rumer Willis, announced the news in a joint statement issued on Wednesday, March 30th.
“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 statement reads. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” the statement continues. “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.”
One of the biggest movie stars of the late 1980s and ’90s, Willis leaves behind a filmography full of blockbusters, including the Diehard franchise, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, and The Sixth Sense.
Willis’ first big break as an actor came opposite Cybill Shepherd on the ABC detective series Moonlighting. During the show’s five-season run between 1985 and 1989, Willis won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Near the end of Moonlight’s run, Willis was cast to play NYPD detective John McClane in John McTiernan’s 1988 action thriller Die Hard. The film proved an unexpected hit for 20th Century Fox, earning more than $140 film at the box office on a budget of just $35 million, and even receiving four Academy Award nominations. Willis went on to star in four more Die Hard movies between 1990 and 2013. To date, the franchise has earned nearly $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.
Willis’ other notable film roles included Look Who’s Talking, The Jackal, The Whole Nine Yards, Sin City, The Expendables, and Moonrise Kingdom.
In recent years, Willis starred in a number of low-budget direct-to-video action movies. In 2021 alone, he starred in seven projects, and he top-lines another eight coming in 2022. Earlier this year, director Matt Eskandari (who worked with Willis on several of these projects) insinuated that the actor suffered from health issues and was acting in as many films as he could while still able to do so.