Bruce Willis' daughter shares update on his health: 'He's so good'

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Bruce Willis is continuing to do well, according to one of the latest updates on his health from his family since he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

His oldest daughter, Rumer Willis, 35, stopped by the TODAY show on Wednesday to discuss her upcoming residency at New York City’s Café Carlyle and shared an update on how her dad is doing.

“He’s so good,” the musician — who welcomed her first child, daughter Louetta, last year — told TODAY’s Hoda Kotb. “I actually got to see him right before I came out (to New York). And Lou is just starting to walk a little bit, and she was walking over to him, and it was so sweet.”

“It’s so nice because I feel like my dad is just like — he’s a girl dad, through and through,” she continued. “It almost unlocks that kind of little-kid, girl-dad thing. He’s so sweet with her.”

Rumer Willis also opened up about why she and her family have shared so much about Bruce Willis’ health and the progression of his dementia.

“Our vulnerability and transparency as a family about what he’s going through to me is so important because if it can have any impact on another family that is struggling in any way with something like this, or bring more attention to the disease in hopes of finding a cure or anything that can be of service to anybody else, I think is really important,” she said.

The Willis family announced in March 2022 that the “Die Hard” star would be stepping away from acting due to health issues. At the time, they shared that he had developed a disorder called aphasia, which leads to difficulties writing and speaking.

The following year, in February 2023, they confirmed that Bruce Willis’ condition had progressed and that they had a definitive diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, aka FTD, a degenerative disease that primarily affects communication and behavior, as opposed to memory, like other types of dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia is the most common type of dementia in people under 60. Here’s what to know about Bruce Willis’ health.

Bruce Willis health update

The last update on Bruce Willis’ health came from daughter Rumer Willis, who answered a question about him when stopping by TODAY on May 29, 2024. She told co-anchor Hoda Kotb that he was doing “so good” and recently enjoyed spending time with his granddaughter, Louetta.

She shared another update at the premiere of her new movie, “My Divorce Party,” a few weeks before on May 2.

“He’s great. Yeah, yeah, doing OK. Thank you so much for asking,” Rumer Willis told Fox News.

Bruce Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, 45, previously shared a glimpse of how he’s doing in March 2024, when she took to Instagram to slam headlines reporting incorrect information about his condition.

She started the clip by saying how claims that her husband had “no more joy” due to his condition “triggered” her.

“I can just tell you, that is far from the truth,” Heming Willis explained. “I need society and whoever’s writing these stupid headlines to stop scaring people. Stop scaring people to think that once they get a diagnosis of some kind of neurocognitive disease that that’s it, it’s over.”

“No, it is the complete opposite of that, OK? 100% there is grief and sadness, there is all of that. But you start a new chapter ... filled with love ... connection ... joy ... happiness. That’s where we are,” she added.

Two months prior, in January 2024, Bruce Willis’ ex-wife, Demi Moore, spoke to Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM show, Radio Andy, about Bruce’s condition and caregiving.

“When you let go of who they’ve been, or who you think they (are), or who even you would like them to be, you can then really stay in the present and take in the joy and the love that is present and there for all that they are, not all that they’re not,” she said.

In November 2023, Tallulah Willis, Bruce Willis’ youngest daughter with ex Moore, shared an update on her dad’s condition on “The Drew Barrymore Show.“ She described Bruce Willis’ dementia as “really aggressive,” adding, “He is the same, which, I think, in this regard, I’ve learned is the best thing you can ask for.”

“I see love when I’m with him, and it’s my dad and he loves me,” Tallulah Willis said. “Playing music ... and sitting in that and this energy of love, it’s really special.”

During a September 2023 appearance on TODAY, Heming Willis spoke about caregiving and how Willis was doing for World FTD Awareness Week. It was her first interview since his diagnosis was made public.

“Dementia is hard,” Heming Willis said. “It’s hard on the person diagnosed, it’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce, or myself, or our girls. When they say this is a family disease, it really is.” (She and Bruce Willis share two daughters, Mabel, 11, and Evelyn, 9.)

Asked if her husband was aware of what’s going on with his health, Heming Willis replied, “It’s hard to know.”

She added that accepting his diagnosis has been “painful, but ... just being in the know of what is happening to Bruce makes it a little easier.”

Bruce Willis’ family also occasionally shares photos of him to mark special occasions.

For his 69th birthday in March, Moore posted a picture of Willis reclining in a chair sitting next to her and holding her arm. “Happy birthday, BW! We love you and are so grateful for you,” she captioned it.

Rumer Willis also shared some snapshots with her dad for his birthday. In the last photo in the carousel, which appears to be the most recent, she wraps her arm around her father as he points at something in the distance.

“Oh Daddio, to be loved by you is such a gift. You are the funniest, most tender, charming, out of this world silly talented and magical papa,” she wrote in part.

Around Thanksgiving November 2023, Bruce Willis’ second-oldest daughter Scout Willis posted a brief clip of the actor holding her hand with the caption, “My guy.”

Scout Willis shared a sweet video over Thanksgiving of herself and her dad, Bruce Willis, who’s living with frontotemporal dementia.@scoutlaruewillis via Instagram

Scout Willis also shared another intimate moment with her father in a photo round-up celebrating the end of 2023. In the picture, she rests her head on her dad’s chest as he holds her head in his hands and they smile at each other.

The Willis family previously marked birthday on March 19, 2023, with a video of Bruce Willis’ shared to Moore’s Twitter account — the first of him since his diagnosis was announced publicly. In the sweet clip, his daughters and wife sing “Happy Birthday” to him as he jokes about their vocal range in the background.

What has Bruce Willis’ family said about his dementia?

In February 2023, the Willis family shared in a statement that they finally had a “clear diagnosis” of frontotemporal dementia, adding that “challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces.”

Since then, his family has shared at times how they’re coping with his condition.

During a May 29 TODAY appearance, Rumer Willis reflected on the support she and her family have received.

“What’s lovely is people will stop me on the street or at the airport, wherever it is, and are so effusive about how much they love him, how much of an impact he’s had on them, or just that they’re sending love to our family,” she said. “It really makes me a proud daughter, honestly, to just see how much love he’s getting

“It’s such a testament to who he is. He’s so beloved,” she added.

In March, Heming Willis also shared a powerful message about celebrating milestones with a loved one with dementia and posted sweet pics in honor of her 15th wedding anniversary.

“I can make a choice. I can wallow in sorrow or I can celebrate it. I call this the ‘remarkable reframe.’ What I know is there is so much to celebrate,” she wrote on Instagram. “Our union and connection is probably stronger than ever. We have two bright, fun and healthy daughters. We have a family unit that is built on mutual respect and admiration. And simply, I just love and adore the man I married. I’m so proud of what we have and continue to create. So, happy crystal anniversary to us! “

The mother of two previously shared a glimpse of her life caring for her husband in an Instagram post shared in late December.

“Holidays are hard. Anniversaries are hard. But for me this year, it has really been about community,” she said, adding that she’d just had a “good cry” with a close friend of hers.

Around the same time, Heming Willis shared a series of snapshots of the couple, writing, “My love and adoration for him only grows.”

In August 2023, she acknowledged that she often struggles with staying positive with caring for her husband.

“I have to make a conscious effort every single day to live the best life that I can,” she said in an Instagram video. “I do that for myself. I do that for our two children and Bruce, who would not want me to live any other way.”

“So I don’t want it to be misconstrued that, like, I’m good — because I’m not good,” she continued. “But I have to put my best foot forward for the sake of myself and my family.”

For Father’s Day 2024, Rumer Willis reflected on what it was like to have her father meet his first grandchild.

“Seeing my father hold my daughter today was something I will treasure for the rest of my life. His sweetness and love for her was so pure and beautiful,” Rumer Willis wrote on Instagram. “Papa I’m so lucky to have you and so is Lou. Thank you for being the silliest, most loving, coolest Daddio a girl could ask for. Best Girl Dad in the game …”

Also for Father’s Day 2023, Heming Willis shared that she has “deep appreciation and respect” for her husband as he continues to father daughters Mabel and Evelyn, as his illness progresses. “Where it might not be ‘conventional,’ what he’s teaching them will span generations. Unconditional love, kindness, strength, compassion, patience, generosity, resilience,” she wrote on Instagram.

What happened to Bruce Willis?

Bruce Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, aka FTD, and had to retire from acting. Before his family publicly shared his diagnosis in 2023, they revealed in March 2022 that he had to step away from Hollywood because he was experiencing a disorder called aphasia. Aphasia occurs when a person struggles with speaking, understanding, reading or writing.

Aphasia can be caused by a head injury or stroke, and the onset will usually be sudden, or it can be caused by a disease such as frontotemporal dementia, in which case the communication difficulties get worse over time, experts previously told TODAY.com.

In an essay for Vogue published in May 2023, Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah Willis wrote that his frontotemporal dementia “chips away at his cognition and behavior day by day.”

What were the early signs of Bruce Willis’ dementia?

The early signs of Bruce Willis’ dementia included difficulty communicating, aka aphasia, and “a vague unresponsiveness,” Tallula Willis wrote in her Vogue essay, “which the family chalked up to Hollywood hearing loss: ‘Speak up! ‘Die Hard’ messed with Dad’s ears.’”

“Later that unresponsiveness broadened, and I sometimes took it personally. He had had two babies with my stepmother, Emma Heming Willis, and I thought he’d lost interest in me,” Tallulah Willis continued, later noting that this “couldn’t have been farther from the truth.”

She finally realized her father’s health was declining when she was at a wedding and the father of the bride gave an emotional speech.

“Suddenly I realized that I would never get that moment, my dad speaking about me in adulthood at my wedding. It was devastating,” she recalled. “I left the dinner table, stepped outside, and wept in the bushes.”

FTD patients sometimes have “difficulty expressing themselves, understanding what’s being spoken and figuring out the meaning of things sometimes,” Dr. Jagan Pillai, neurologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, previously told TODAY.com.

Did Bruce Willis retire?

Yes, it was announced that Bruce Willis was retiring from acting in March 2022, when his family revealed that he’d been experiencing aphasia. Aphasia is a symptom associated with dementia and other illnesses that causes difficulty with communication, both in speaking and understanding written and spoken language.

What is Bruce Willis’ health condition?

Bruce Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, which includes a variety of neurodegenerative conditions, his family announced in February 2023. FTD impacts the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Its onset begins earlier than other degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and symptoms start on average around age 58, according the Cleveland Clinic. Unlike other forms of dementia, memory difficulties aren’t the hallmark symptom of FTD.

“Most people, when they think of the word dementia, they think problems with memory and Alzheimer’s disease, but FTD doesn’t really show up as problems with memory. ... It affects how people behave, how they interact with others and how they speak,” says Dr. Sami Barmada, director of Michigan Brain Bank and associate professor of neurology at University of Michigan Medicine, previously TODAY.com.

Primary progressive aphasia is a type of FTD, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Aphasia can also be caused by a stroke, and in these cases the loss of ability to speak is usually sudden. But with progressive aphasia, as Bruce Willis likely has, it usually starts out mild and gets worse as time passes, Barmada said.

Other common symptoms of FTD include apathy or unwillingness to talk, changes in personality and becoming more depressed, lack of social skills and obsessive behavior.

“It doesn’t look like a dementia or something that you can put your finger on. ... Very often you’ll hear people say they just started to act really weird, and they’re not the same person,” Barmada said.

What is the life expectancy of someone with frontotemporal dementia?

The average life expectancy for someone with frontotemporal dementia, which Bruce Willis has, is seven to 13 years after diagnosis, per the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Cleveland Clinic said the life expectancy is seven and half years, while Barmada told TODAY.com that 10 years or longer is considered a good prognosis.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com