Sylvester Stallone shares update on friend Bruce Willis’ health

Bruce Willis to step away from acting after aphasia diagnosis

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Bruce Willis, 67, shocked the world back in March when he announced that he would be stepping down from his acting career. The actor’s aphasia diagnosis was behind his decision. Aphasia is a condition which can affect a person’s ability to use and understand spoken or written words.

In the intervening months, there has been much speculation about the actor’s health.

Now fellow A-lister and friend Sylvester Stallone has provided an update on Willis’ health condition.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Stallone said: “Bruce is going through some really, really difficult times. So he’s been sort of incommunicado.”

He added: “That kills me. It’s so sad.”

It’s unclear exactly when Bruce first experienced symptoms of aphasia.

When his family first shared the news earlier this year, the film star’s daughter, Rumer Willis, said the diagnosis came after he had been “experiencing some health issues”, with her Instagram post noting the disorder has been “impacting his cognitive abilities”.

The actress, 33, wrote: “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

The statement was signed by the actor’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, 43, his ex-wife Demi Moore, 59, and his five children, and was followed by an outpouring of support from Hollywood stars.

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What are the symptoms of aphasia?

According to the NHS, aphasia affects everyone differently, but most people will have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding things they hear or read.

“If aphasia has been caused by a sudden brain injury, such as a stroke or severe head injury, symptoms usually develop straight after the injury,” explains the health body.

People with aphasia often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use language.

These are:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Typing or writing.

“Speaking problems are perhaps the most obvious, and people with aphasia may make mistakes with the words they use,” explains the NHS.

Can aphasia be treated?

If the brain damage is mild, it’s possible to recover language skills without treatment.

“However, most people undergo speech and language therapy to rehabilitate their language skills and supplement their communication experiences,” explains health body the Mayo Clinic

“Researchers are investigating the use of medications, alone or in combination with speech therapy, to help people with aphasia.”

According to the health body, recovery of language skills is usually a slow process.

“Although most people make significant progress, few people regain full pre-injury communication levels.”

For people with aphasia, speech and language therapy aims to:

  • Help restore as much of your speech and language as possible (reduce impairment)
  • Help you communicate to the best of your ability (increase activity and participation)
  • Find alternative ways of communicating (use compensatory strategies or aids)
  • Provide information to patients and their relatives about aphasia.

“How the therapy is carried out will depend on your circumstances,” adds the NHS.

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