Bruce Willis is not alone: ​​other celebrities with aphasia | Way of life

Bruce Willis’ family announced on Wednesday that the actor has aphasia, a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to understand and communicate with others.

As a result, the ‘Sixth Sense’ and ‘Die Hard’ star is “walking away” from acting, his loved ones said in a heartfelt statement. According to the National Aphasia Association, the condition is an acquired communication disorder that impairs the ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence.

“This is a really difficult time for our family and we very much appreciate your continued love, compassion and support,” the Willis family said Wednesday.

“We’re going through this as a strong family unit and we wanted to bring in his fans because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it’ and together , we plan to do just that.”

In his battle with aphasia, Willis is not alone. Several artists have previously spoken about their experiences with the disorder, which is commonly seen in stroke victims.

Below are other actors and musicians who have suffered from aphasia.

Sharon Stone

In 2001, actor Stone suffered a stroke which she described to the LA Times as a “massive nine-day brain bleed”. Afterwards, she said, “learning to read and write again…was humbling.”

According to the National Aphasia Association, the 64-year-old ‘Basic Instinct’ star also experienced speech impairment, including stuttering and aphasia, as a result of the aneurysm.

“I became more emotionally intelligent” after the stroke, Stone told Harper’s Bazaar in 2015.

“I chose to work really hard to open up other parts of my mind. Now I’m stronger. And I can be blunt and abrasive. It scares people, but I think that’s not my problem. .. It’s like I have brain damage; you’ll just have to deal with it.”

The medical event also affected Stone’s acting career: “I took on smaller roles and built a completely different job to what I got stuck in by the role I was not in. not taken seriously,” she told the LA Times in 2018. Since then, she’s used her platform to raise awareness for stroke victims.

Glenn Campbell

In 2011, country-pop singer and guitarist Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, telling People magazine that he still loved making music and performing.

In an August 2017 interview with USA Today, Campbell’s wife, Kimberly Woolen, said the musician also struggled with aphasia and had lost most of his language, as well as his ability to understand words. Sometimes he tried to sing and managed to produce sounds.

“But he still has his essence,” she said.

Campbell died that month at age 81.

Dick Clark

After suffering a stroke in 2004, entertainment icon Clark had to relearn how to walk and talk. Stroke symptoms included slurred speech, slowed speech and partial paralysis, but Clark “refused to stop,” said Dr. Larry Goldstein, professor of medicine and director of the center. Duke University Stroke and spokesperson for the American Stroke Association.

“I watched it year after year on the [‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’] countdown, and I could see a small but steady improvement year after year,” Goldstein told the Los Angeles Times in 2012.

“It’s important for patients who wonder if they’ll recover, or wonder if all the therapy and hard work is worth it. Healing comes by degrees, and he showed that.”

Clark died in 2012 at the age of 82.

Terry Jones

Just before Jones received a special award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2010 for his contributions to film and television, a rep for the Monty Python star revealed that he had “been diagnosed with aphasia primary progressive, a variant of frontotemporal dementia.”

“This illness is affecting his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews,” the statement continued. “Terry is proud and honored to be recognized in this way and looks forward to the celebrations.”

Jones died in January 2020 at his London home. He was 77 years old.

Emily clark

In 2019, ‘Game of Thrones’ star Clarke revealed that she had suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms. After filming the first season of the hit fantasy series, the actor grew “violently, bulky” and experienced “a throbbing, throbbing, constricting pain” in his head that landed him in an English hospital.

At 24, she underwent surgery to seal the aneurysm. She also suffered from aphasia and at her “worst moments” she wanted to die in hospital.

By March 2019, the Emmy nominee had fully recovered.

“I know from personal experience that the impact of brain damage is heartbreaking,” Clarke said in a statement for her charity SameYou.

“Recovery takes a long time and rehabilitation can be difficult to access. Brain injury can be an invisible disease and the subject is often taboo. We need to help young adults take charge of their recovery and allow them to open up without fear of stigma or shame.”

Kirk Douglas

In 1996, screen legend Douglas suffered a stroke that impaired his speech. The Oscar-nominated actor opened up about how the event affected him emotionally, telling the LA Times in 1999 that he would “pull down the blinds, get into bed and cry” while suffering from depression.

He then played a stroke survivor in the 1999 comedy-adventure “Diamonds” and appeared in a few other film and television projects before his death in 2020 at the age of 103.

“After a stroke, I made two films with speech impediments,” Douglas wrote in his 2002 memoir “My Stroke of Luck.”

“Now I’m waiting for another role to be played before the sun sets below the horizon. You can’t stop an actor.”

According to the National Aphasia Association, Douglas once said that he “learned that we take too many things for granted in this world – even speech.”

“When you have a stroke, your mind thinks quickly but your speech responds very slowly,” he continued.

“You have to learn to use your tongue, your lips, your teeth… Of course, I do my speech exercises every day. When I asked my speech therapist how long I had to do my exercises, his response was, ‘Until you die.'”

Julie Harris

Before dying of congestive heart failure in 2013 at the age of 87, Broadway star Harris suffered two strokes: in 2001 and 2010.

According to the National Aphasia Association, the Tony winner first treated her stroke-induced aphasia with speech therapy, and the American Stroke Association reported that the treatment helped improve her vocabulary but not her fluency.

Through the University of Michigan’s Aphasia Program, Harris found new ways to live with the condition and converse with others after signing up for 23 hours of speech therapy a week for six weeks, the National says. Aphasia Association.

Patricia Neal

Shortly after wrapping up his first day of production on the 1966 drama “Seven Women,” actor Neal suffered three consecutive strokes while pregnant with his fifth child.

When she woke up from a coma, the Oscar-winning actress was partially blind and paralyzed on the right side of her body. She couldn’t speak or remember anything.

Three months later, Neal had recovered somewhat from the paralysis and was able to joke with reporters about her difficulty speaking.

In a 2016 essay for the Guardian, a doctor and friend of Neal’s husband – the late author Roald Dahl – said the performer “struggled with the names of objects and people” and “made up new » words to communicate.

This innovative way of speaking ultimately influenced the main character of Dahl’s classic novel “The BFG”. In the book, the Big Friendly Giant explains, “I can’t help it if I say kinda wavy things sometimes…Words are oh such a tickle problem for me all my life.”

In 2010, Neal died of lung cancer at her home in Massachusetts. She was 84 years old.

Randy Travis

While undergoing surgery for congestive heart failure, country singer Travis suffered a stroke in a Texas hospital in 2013. Four years later, the musician’s wife, Mary Davis Travis, died. told People magazine that his memory was “as sharp as it’s ever been.”

“It’s all up there,” she said. “It’s just aphasia [loss of speech] and getting it out is the frustrating part.”

She spoke again in 2021 at a virtual event for the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center, saying she and her husband had never heard of the term aphasia until they went to the first rehabilitation hospital after her stroke. cerebral.

The term is “that people don’t know until they have to cross that road,” said Mary Travis, noting that a large majority of Americans don’t know what aphasia is or n have never heard of it.

“It’s interesting,” she said, “because it’s more common than Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, but people don’t know about it. There are 800,000 accidents strokes per year, and up to a third to 40% of these people are left with aphasia.”


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