Is Bruce Willis still alive? His deteriorating health

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis was famous for appearing in blockbuster films like Die Hard and Pulp Fiction. However, in recent years, Willis has starred in many low-budget productions, which often receive low critical scores but become commercial successes due to Willis’ marketability: his presence in films allows filmmakers to sell movies internationally. 

Willis’ appearances in a couple more low-budget films in late 2022 and early 2023 will be his last – unless filmmakers use technology to superimpose his likeness in films. Bruce retired from the industry in March 2022. “Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him,” his family stated. 

Bruce Willis is battling aphasia, a condition that affects communication

Bruce Willis is alive but not in perfect health – he is battling aphasia, which impacts his communication. “We want to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia,” the family’s statement read

Elizabeth Hoover, clinical director of Boston University’s Aphasia Resource Center, told The Brink that aphasia is a disorder that ‘results from damage to areas of the brain that control how we formulate and how we understand language.’

Hoover said aphasia isn’t as rare as people assume – it is more common in the United States than ALS, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s combined. She added that aphasia solely affects communication, not cognition. Hoover said:

“Communication is central to how we share our stories in the world and how we interact with other people. One of the big misconceptions about aphasia is that it impacts cognition—the way somebody thinks. Aphasia is a language disorder, not an intellectual disorder.”

Willis’ family didn’t reveal the cause of Bruce’s aphasia. Swathi Kiran, director of Boston University’s Aphasia Research Laboratory, said that aphasia often results from a stroke or hemorrhage to the brain. 

However, at other times, the condition, specifically primary progressive aphasia, manifests without a cause. “What usually happens is the symptoms precede the diagnosis, because the person notices the symptoms and they worsen over time,” Kiran said. 

Recent comments by Sylvester Stallone suggest Willis’ condition has gotten worse. “Bruce is going through some really, really difficult times,” Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter. “So he’s been sort of incommunicado. “That kills me; it’s so sad.”

Colleagues saw signs of Bruce’s aphasia for years before his diagnosis

A March 2022 report by the Los Angeles Times claimed that colleague’s witnessed Bruce Willis’ decline. Filmmakers interviewed by the outlet reported that Bruce struggled to remember his dialogue, requiring a fellow actor to feed Willis his lines through an earpiece. Action scenes were often filmed using a body double, they said. 

Mike Burns, the director of Out of Death, said he was asked to shorten Bruce’s dialogue in the film. Before directing Bruce in a subsequent movie, Burns received a positive update about Willis’ health. However, he discovered that the actor’s condition had worsened. Burns said:

“I didn’t think he was better; I thought he was worse. After we finished, I said: ‘I’m done. I’m not going to do any other Bruce Willis movies.’ I am relieved that he is taking time off.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the elder Willis rarely spent more than two days on set, forcing filmmakers to quickly film his parts. “Someone would give him a line and he didn’t understand what it meant,” a crew member said. “He was just being puppeted.”

Despite struggling with his condition, Willis remained professional, bringing his A-game to every set. Terri Martin, the production supervisor on White Elephant, said:

“He just looked so lost, and he would say, ‘I’ll do my best.’ He always tried his best. He is one of the all-time greats, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for his body of work, but it was time for him to retire.”