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Celebrities and friends rally behind Bruce Willis after aphasia announcement

Bruce Willis steps away from acting
Bruce Willis halts acting career after aphasia diagnosis 03:29

Bruce Willis' family announced this week that the actor has been diagnosed with aphasia, and is stepping from his career. Several friends and celebrities are now sharing their memories with Willis and words of encouragement for the actor and his family.

The 67-year-old's family members — including ex-wife Demi Moore, daughter Rumer Willis, wife Emma Heming — all posted a statement on Instagram, explaining the disease is impacting his cognitive abilities. Aphasia is medical condition that leaves patients struggling to understand language and communicate. 

"This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support," the family's statement reads. "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." 

The message was signed by Heming, Moore and his children, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn.

The family's Instagram posts were flooded with comments from well-known friends. "Grace and guts! Love to you all!" Jamie Lee Curtis wrote.

"We love Bruce so much❤️Sending love to him and your family. Bruce has given us sooo much! What an amazing career. May he rest and recover," commented actress Debi Mazar.

"My heart goes out to Bruce, and all of the family. So thankful you shared this with us. Keeping you all in our prayers," actress and producer Rita Wilson, who appeared in "Story of Us" alongside Willis, wrote. 

"Sending love and support dearest Demi," commented Willis' former co-star Melanie Griffith. 

M. Night Shyamalan, who directed Willis in "Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable," tweeted, "All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis. I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as a kid."

M. Night Shyamalan, who directed Willis in "Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable," shared a message on social media. M. Night Shyamalan

Comedian and "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch said Willis was the first celebrity she's ever met "back in the 90's, touring with Second City at a show in Sun Valley, ID."

"Imagine our delight when we found out he was in the audience! He came backstage and couldn't have been sweeter to us wannabes," she said of the star showing up to her improve comedy show. 

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, who is an aphasia advocate and suffered a brain injury during an assassination attempt in 2011, also tweeted about the actor.

"I'm thinking of Bruce Willis and his family today. Aphasia makes it hard for me to find the right words. It can be lonely and isolating, but @FriendsAphasia is trying to change that," she said, referring to the Arizona-based charity organization. "To everyone living with aphasia, I'm here for you. We got this."

Fellow Arizonan Megan McCain, whose father, the late John McCain, served as senator for 31 years, also shared words of encouragement. "So much love, light, prayers, and strength to Bruce Willis, his wife, children, [Demi Moore] and their entire family during this time," McCain tweeted.

"Have faith, there is hope and incredible geniuses at Mayo Clinic and NIH who work in neurology & study brains. Breakthroughs truly happen every day," she said. Her father was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in 2017 and died in 2018.

Actor Seth Green tweeted: "I have so much love for Bruce Willis, and am grateful for every character he's given us. Hugs and love for the whole family- thank you for sharing him with us all."

"When Bruce Willis was on it, there were few who were better. An under appreciated dramatic force, an unlikely comedic presence, a sterling leading man. He could do anything and did everything in the movies. I'm going to miss seeing him on the silver screen," film critic Robert Daniels tweeted.

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