Bruce Willis‘ loved ones are rallying behind the actor, who has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
The Die Hard star’s family — wife Emma Heming Willis, their children, Mabel, 10, and Evelyn, 8, ex-wife Demi Moore and their children Rumer Willis, 34, Scout Willis, 31, and Tallulah Willis, 29 — have been focused on helping him “live as full a life as possible,” according to a statement from the family.
“The focus for Bruce is to keep him active. He has a busy schedule with activities every day. They make sure both his body and brain is exercised,” a family source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
“The family is all closer than ever,” the source says, adding that Emma, 44, is trying to make as many positive memories for Mabel and Evelyn as she can. “She wants them to remember Bruce as an amazing, fun dad. She wants them to have the best memories of him.”
The family gave an update on the 67-year-old actor’s health in a statement on Thursday, 11 months after they disclosed he was diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder affecting his cognitive abilities.
“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD).”
“Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis,” the statement continues.
“Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.”
Frontotemporal dementia is an all-encompassing term for a group of brain disorders that threatens the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This means that parts of these lobes atrophy, and the shrinking of these areas can cause speech issues, emotional problems and changes in personality.
Other symptoms can include loss of motor skills — problems walking, swallowing or muscle spasms. Symptoms tend to get worse over time. Patients typically begin to notice symptoms between 40 – 65 years of age, but it can affect people who are younger. It is the most common form of dementia for people under 60.
The family added in the full statement, “Bruce has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same,” she ended. “It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us. We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible.”