Arnold Schwarzenegger praised his “Expendables” co-star Bruce Willis as “a huge, huge star” and “a kind man” in a recent interview with CinemaBlend during the press tour for his Netflix action-comedy series “Fubar.” Schwarzenegger was asked to weigh in on Willis’ retirement from acting, which was announced last year as Willis’ family disclosed his aphasia diagnosis.
“I think that he’s fantastic,” Schwarzenegger said about Willis. “He was, always for years and years, is a huge, huge star. And I think that he will always be remembered as a great, great star. And a kind man. I understand that under his circumstances, health-wise, that he had to retire. But in general, you know, we never really retire. Action heroes, they reload.”
Schwarzenegger and Willis both appeared in Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables” and “The Expendables 2.” Willis’ family announced in March 2022 that his aphasia diagnosis would not make it possible for him to continue acting. Aphasia is a language disorder caused by brain damage that affects a person’s ability to communicate.
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” Willis’ family wrote in a statement at the time. “We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
Willis’ family updated fans in February 2023 and revealed that his condition had progressed into frontotemporal dementia.
“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD),” a statement read. “Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”
The family added: “Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately. We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families.”
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