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What is aphasia? The reason Bruce Willis retired

On Wednesday, film fans learned that Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting amid a diagnosis of aphasia. Ex-wife Demi Moore released a statement announcing his retirement at age 67. “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,” Moore, 59, shared on Instagram. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.” The announcement provided no further details as to the type or cause of the “Die Hard” star’s condition. However, recent reports allege that Willis’ cognitive issues are not necessarily a new development. An insider told Page Six that he’d recently used “earpieces, hearing things, for them to feed him the lines” on sets, and that “it was increasingly difficult to have him on screen.” The Post has reached out to the actor’s reps for clarification regarding his condition. Aphasia is outwardly marked by difficulty with conversation, speaking and comprehending language due to injury at the brain’s speech center — usually a result of neurological disease, stroke, brain tumor or bleeding — and confirmed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans, according to the National Institute of Health. This could look like someone who uses gibberish, or can only speak in short spurts. Alternatively, specific injuries may cause highly contained symptoms, such as an inability to recall the names of objects or to repeat a word they’ve heard. Treatment of aphasia starts with figuring out the underlying cause of the symptoms, which may clear naturally as those injuries heal, even without treatment. For others, especially those with a neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, the signs of aphasia can be progressive. For those whose aphasia lingers, whatever the reason, speech-language therapy is usually recommended. “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,” continued the family’s statement, which also was signed by the adult children shared by Willis and Moore, as well as his current wife, Emma Heming Willis, 43, and their two young girls. “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up,’ and together we plan to do just that,” it concluded.

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