Bruce Willis and the Cruelty of Aphasia — The Wall Street Journal

For more than a decade of sometimes joyous, often difficult summers beginning in 1992, I traveled the U.S. alongside a famous entertainer who had aphasia. Many people aren’t familiar with the condition or the sadness that can accompany it. It is challenging enough when the sufferer is a private citizen. When it’s a performer still appearing before audiences, courage becomes a job requirement.

Bruce Willis’s family said this week that the actor is retiring because of aphasia. Mr. Willis’s family didn’t disclose what led to his diagnosis. Causes can include a stroke, a tumor or a severe brain injury. Common symptoms are being able to speak only in short or incomplete sentences, mixing up words or saying things that make no sense to listeners.

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