By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A shocking revelation from the family of actor Bruce Willis: he has a language disorder that’s impacting his cognitive abilities and he’ll be stepping away from his career. Willis has something called aphasia, which is caused by damage to the brain.

In revealing the recent diagnosis, the family didn’t say what happened.

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Willis, the star of “Die Hard” and so many other movies, is now battling aphasia, a language disorder caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls expression and comprehension.

Local Doctor Explains Aphasia Disorder That's Impacting Bruce Willis' Acting Career

An Instagram post from his daughter Rumer says it’s impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.

“Aphasia, by definition, is an acquired language impairment that is most commonly the result of stroke to the left hemisphere of the brain but it also can occur as the result of other kinds of brain injuries,” Dr. Sharon Antonucci at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute said.

Sharon Antonucci, the director of the MossRehab Aphasia Center, says it can also be the result of brain tumors, infections or dementia.

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So how debilitating can this be?

“It is really variable depending on the severity of the impairment. For many people with aphasia, they’ll describe it kind of like identity theft, it impacts not just the basic language skills but also their ability to stay engaged in their community,” Dr. Antonucci said.

The 67-year-old’s ex-wife Demi Moore also posted on Instagram, saying “As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”

“Wishing both Mr. Willis and his family all of the best for this journey, and to be honest with you I think it’s very generous of Mr. Willis and his family to have made this announcement and shared this information with people because it I think will be a catalyst for people becoming more educated about aphasia,” Dr. Antonucci said.

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She says there are a number of different therapies that can help the estimated two to four million people living with aphasia.

Stephanie Stahl