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Bruce Willis' 'condition has progressed' to frontotemporal dementia, his family says

His family announced in March that Willis would be “stepping away” from his career after he was diagnosed with aphasia.
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Actor Bruce Willis has frontotemporal dementia, his family said Thursday.

In a heartfelt statement, Willis' family, including ex-wife Demi Moore and daughter Rumer Willis, shared that his aphasia diagnosis, which the family announced in March, has progressed. Willis is 67.

"Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis," they wrote on Instagram posts, which were signed by the "Ladies of Willis/Moore" family.

Willis' wife, Emma Heming Willis; Moore; and his five daughters, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn, shared a detailed statement with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

They expressed their "deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis."

Willis' family noted his desire over the years to use his voice to help others and raise awareness for issues around the globe.

"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," they said.

Frontotemporal dementia, known as FTD, is "an umbrella term for a group of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain," according to the Mayo Clinic. "These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behavior and language."

It said "signs and symptoms vary, depending on which part of the brain is affected."

"Some people with frontotemporal dementia have dramatic changes in their personalities and become socially inappropriate, impulsive or emotionally indifferent, while others lose the ability to use language properly," according to the site.

There is no cure for frontotemporal dementia, although medications can improve quality of life by reducing agitation, irritability and depression sometimes associated with it, according to the National Institute on Aging.

In March, the family announced that Willis would be “stepping away” from his career following the aphasia diagnosis, which they said had affected his cognitive abilities.

Representatives for Moore and Willis did not immediately respond to requests for further comment Thursday.