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LOS ANGELES – Action hero Bruce Willis, star of the 'Die Hard' franchise, is to retire from acting after developing a cognitive illness, his family announced on Wednesday.

A post on Instagram said Willis had aphasia – a language disorder that robs people of their ability to communicate.

"Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities," read the post.

"As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him."

Aphasia is typically caused by a stroke or head injury – though in more rare cases can come on gradually and progressively.

The condition affects a person's ability not just to speak and understand verbal communication but also their reading and writing.

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