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SYFY WIRE Bruce Willis

'Glass' and '12 Monkeys' star Bruce Willis diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia

The unfortunate news comes a little less than a year since Willis officially retired from acting due to aphasia.

By Josh Weiss
Bruce Willis in Unbreakable (2000)

Bruce Willis — star of Die Hard, The Sixth Sense12 Monkeys, Pulp Fiction, The Fifth ElementArmageddonUnbreakable, Glass, and a plethora of other famous movies — has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), his family revealed today.

Often found within people between the ages of 40 and 65, the neurodegenerative disorder atrophies the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, seriously affecting one's speech, behavior, memory, and movement. Per the Mayo Clinic, FTD is not the same as Alzheimer's and is "the cause of approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of dementia cases." 

The unfortunate news comes a little less than a year since Willis officially retired from acting due to aphasia.

The Willis family published the following statement on The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration website:

FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone," the message continues. "For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know. Today there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. 

Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. 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.

Ours is just one family with a loved one who suffers from FTD, and we encourage others facing it to seek out the wealth of information and support available through AFTD ( And for those of you who have been fortunate enough to not have any personal experience with FTD, we hope that you will take the time to learn about it, and support AFTD’s mission in whatever way you can. 

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.

-Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, and Evelyn

You can learn more about FTD and how you can help at