Bruce Willis’ friend and director Glenn Gordon Caron has said that the actor’s ability to communicate has sharply declined amid his battle with dementia. Speaking to New York Post, Mr Caron said he tries to visit the ‘Die Hard‘ actor almost every month since he was diagnosed with the degenerative disease earlier this year, and that he does feel that Willis still recognises him during his visits. Mr Caron created television series ‘Moonlighting‘ that helped Mr Willis rise to stardom in 1985.
“My sense is the first one to three minutes he knows who I am,” Mr Caron told the outlet. “He’s not totally verbal; he used to be a voracious reader – he didn’t want anyone to know that – and he’s not reading now. All those language skills are no longer available to him, and yet he’s still Bruce.”
“When you’re with him you know that he’s Bruce and you’re grateful that he’s there, but the joie de vivre is gone,” he added.
Mr Caron first worked with Bruce Willis when he played David Addison Junior in the series ‘Moonlighting‘, which ran from 1985-89.
“The thing that makes his disease so mind-blowing is that if you’ve ever spent time with Bruce Willis, there is no one who had any more joie de vivre than he. He loved life and… just adored waking up every morning and trying to live life to its fullest,” said Mr Caron.
Mr Willis’ family revealed in February this year that that he is suffering from frontotemporal dementia. The announcement was made less than a year after he stopped performing as a result of his aphasia diagnosis.
According to the National Institute on Aging in the United States, frontotemporal dementia is caused by the damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
The disease causes changes in personality, behaviour and judgement. People with this disorder may have problems with cognition, but their memory may stay relatively intact, said the institute.