Die Hard's Bruce Willis Is Retiring From Acting Due To Health Condition

Bruce Willis as John McClane holding gun in A Good Day to Die Hard
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Bruce Willis has been on the professional acting scene the start of the 1980s, and while a decent amount of people met him when he played David Addison in the TV series Moonlighting, his fame skyrocketed when he starred as John McClane in Die Hard (we won’t get into the ‘Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?’ debate here). The following decades saw Willis become one of Hollywood’s most famous actors. However, it’s been announced that he is retiring from acting due to a recently-diagnosed health condition.

This revelation comes from Bruce Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, who shared the following collective statement from the Willis family in an Instagram post:

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. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.

This statement, which was accompanied by a picture of Bruce Willis in his younger years, also mentioned that this is a “really challenging time” for the family, and that they are appreciative of the retired actor’s fans’ “continued love, compassion and support.” The message wraps up by noting how Bruce Willis likes to say “Live it up,” and his family intends to do just that. Speaking of family, the statement was signed by Emma Heming Willis and her two daughters with Bruce Willis (Mabel and Evelyn), as well as Bruce Willis’ first wife, Demi Moore (whom he quarantined with two years back), and her three children with him (Rumer, Scout and Tallulah).

As Emma Heming Willis, aphasia is a cognitive condition, specifically one that affects the ability to comprehend or formulate language due to certain areas of the brain being damaged. Emma Heming Willis didn’t share any details on the circumstances behind how Bruce Willis learned he had aphasia, but strokes and head trauma are usually the main causes for its emergence, though in lesser cases it can also be the result of brain tumors, brain infections or neurodegenerative diseases. Whatever the case, it’s affected Bruce Willis’ cognitive abilities enough that he’s no longer able to act.

Along with reprising John McClane for four more Die Hard movies and a DieHard battery commercial, Bruce Willis left his stamp on Hollywood with the likes of Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense, the Sin City movies, two Expendables movies and the RED movies, among others. Willis also lent his voice to features like the Look Who’s Talking duology, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and Over the Hedge. While the majority of Willis’ professional outings in recent years have been direct-to-video movies, he did return to the big screen a handful of times, which included reprising his Unbreakable role of David Dunn for a cameo in Split and to end the character’s story in Glass, as well as starring in the Death Wish remake, Motherless Brooklyn and Midnight in the Switchgrass.

We here at CinemaBlend offer well wishes to Bruce Wills and his family during this difficult time. It’s unfortunate his acting career came to an end like this, but at least we have more than four decades worth of film and TV appearances to turn to if we’re ever in the mood for a Willis marathon.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.