Actor Bruce Willis Retires, Stepping Away from Hollywood to Battle Degenerative Health Condition

Sometimes it’s hard not to equate the actors and actresses of our times to those of Times Past. For example, when many of us think of Tom Hanks or Kevin Costner, it’s difficult not to imagine these two stoic thespians as the Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart of their day. Idris Elba=Sidney Poitier; Meryl Streep=Bette Davis; Leonardo DiCaprio=River Phoenix or James Dean. This is a trifle game best played by hopeless film nerds with raging bouts of insomnia, and since we’re already on this compare and contrast track, why not admit that in all of the years we’ve been fortunate to watch Bruce Willis on the silver screen we’ve seen flattering shades of John Wayne, Steve McQueen and William Holden in his performances. Willis – the star of such classic big screen outings as Die Hard, Nobody’s Fool, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Player and The Sixth Sense – has been on our mind a lot in the last twenty-four hours since it was revealed to us by The Hollywood Reporter and other media outlets that the actor had decided to step away from the limelight of Hollywood to focus on family and his own personal health.

Bruce Willis has revealed to the public at large what only those in his closest orbit had been privy to for a while now – The Moonlighting star has been diagnosed with aphasia, a degenerative condition which can lead to one’s loss of capability to comprehend or convey speech.

 In a statement posted to social media, the family of Bruce Willis gave a heartfelt thank you to the 67 year old actor’s many supporters, saying that they “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. As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family, and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. 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. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that. Love, Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn.”

These are tough stories to follow, let alone write about. Bruce Willis has long been a cinematic hero to many of us. To quote the late and great actor John Anderson (from his performance in the A Passage for Trumpet episode of The Twilight Zone): “You take what you get and you live with it. Sometimes its sweet frosting, nice gravy; sometimes its sour and it goes down hard. But you live with it…”

This one goes down hard, to be for sure, but our prayers and our best hopes and wishes go out to Mr. Willis and all of his family, friends and fans. Whether essaying the role of an off-duty cop taking out terrorists in a high-rise or finding the soul in an over the hill pugilist that refuses to take a dive for any amount of money, you’ve always been our generation’s John Wayne and we love you for that.

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