Bruce Willis to retire from acting after medical diagnosis

"Die Hard" star Bruce Willis will retire from his acting career after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disease that is "impacting his cognitive abilities," his family said in a statement on Wednesday.

Willis' family, including his wife Emma Heming-Willis and ex-wife Demi Moore, announced the veteran actor is "stepping away" from his acting career on Instagram in a joint statement.

"To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him," the statement said. 

"This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. 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."

Aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage in a specific area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension, according to Johns Hopkins.

The disease makes it difficult for people to communicate and is often the result of a stroke.

The news follows speculation that Bruce was churning out straight to video releases because his health was declining. 

Despite retirement, Willis won't be off screens just yet, as to fans' delight he has filmed several movies that are set to be released this year.

The American actor born in Germany, has been acting since the early 1980s, appearing in over 100 films including Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense and is arguably best-known for playing John McClane in the Die Hard films.

Since the announcement, Willis has received widespread support from fans and the entertainment industry.

"Grace and guts! Love to you all!" Actress Jamie Lee Curtis commented on Instagram.

"I have so much love for Bruce Willis, and am grateful for every character he’s given us. Hugs and love for the whole family- thank you for sharing him with us all," actor and director Seth Green wrote on Twitter.