Earlier this year, Willis was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which Johns Hopkins Medicine says is a common cause of dementia that occurs when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lost, causing the lobes to shrink. Doctors said FTD can affect behavior, personality, language and movement.
Tallulah Willis, the youngest daughter of Willis and actress Demi Moore, told Barrymore that her father’s health condition hasn’t changed.
“He has a really aggressive cognitive disease, a form of dementia that’s very rare,” she said. “He is the same, which I think, in this regard, I’ve learned is the best thing you can ask for.”
Last month, Willis’ friend Glenn Gordon Caron said the “Die Hard” actor had been rendered “incommunicative” by the disease.
“Bruce’s disease is a progressive disease, so I was able to communicate with him before the disease rendered him as incommunicative as he is now,” Caron told the New York Post.
Willis’s family has given regular updates on his condition after they released a statement saying he was diagnosed with FTD in February.
Tallulah Willis told Barrymore that being open about her dad’s progress is “important,” and shared that it’s her family’s goal to spread awareness about FTD.
“If we can take something that we’re struggling with as a family, individually, to help other people, to turn it around, to make something beautiful about it – that’s really special for us,” she told Barrymore.