What is aphasia and what causes it? This is why Bruce Willis is ‘stepping back’ from acting

Bruce Willis at the "Motherless Brooklyn" Premiere during the 57th New York Film Festival.
Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a brain disease that affects word recall, memory, and communication. Pic credit: ©

Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting after spending decades in the film industry.

The actor’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, shared an Instagram post earlier that relayed a heartfelt message to all of Bruce’s fans, explaining why the beloved actor will be retiring from his profession.

The post, which included a photo of Bruce, was signed by Bruce’s entire family, including ex-wife Demi Moore and his five daughters.

In the post, Emma shared that the Die Hard actor has been diagnosed with aphasia and has had a hard time cognitively, forcing him to quit acting, much to the shock and sadness of his fans.

What is aphasia?

As news of Bruce’s condition has hit the web, many people wonder what it means to have aphasia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia is a disease of the brain that impacts a person’s ability to recall words, remember certain things, communicate, and generally understand both written and spoken language.

The severity of the condition depends largely on its cause and how extensive the brain damage is.

Aphasia is caused by brain trauma, usually from a previous stroke or severe blows to the head that results in a brain injury that reduces certain cognitive abilities.

Such brain trauma leads to a lack of blood flow to the areas of the brain that control language, thus often leading to a diagnosis of aphasia later on.

Although the disease is treatable with speech and language therapy, there is no permanent fix for reversing the condition, and family members must provide a lot of support to the person affected.

Fans flocked to Emma Heming’s Instagram page to share their support

After sharing the sad news with the internet, fans flocked to Emma Heming’s social media page to share their shock, grief, and support.

“Omg I’m sooo sorry! My mother has aphasia. I know how terrifying this can be,” wrote one supportive follower, adding, “I’m sure you have all of the best around you to help, AND cases vary from person to person, but we found a speech pathologist really helped.”

Pic credit: @emmahemingwillis/Instagram

Others followed suit with their empathy and love, with one person writing, “We’ll always love you Bruce!! ❤️❤️❤️ You of the best actors the world has seen ✨ Sending love and good energy ??.”

“I love Bruce so much!! My favourite actor! Good health to him! He has wonderful 5 daughters and 2 wives who are always there and support! A million fans! He is truly a happy and rich person for his beloved people!?” penned someone else.

Another fan shared their heartbreak over the news, writing, “Wishing Bruce all the best. He has been my favourite actor since I first watched him in Moonlighting, 30+ years ago. May the love and support of his family and friends be everything he needs at this difficult time. Love to Bruce and the Willis family xxx.”

Pic credit: @emmahemingwillis/Instagram

While there currently remains no clear answers as to how Bruce got aphasia and whether or not it stemmed from an onset injury he may have sustained at some point in his career, fans are still speculating as to the cause.

One theory circulating about the actor’s condition is that Bruce may have suffered a stroke that the public was not made aware of in recent months or years.

Time may tell what the root cause of Bruce’s aphasia is, but for now, Emma and the rest of the actor’s family have asked for privacy and respect as they grapple with the diagnosis together.

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