Bruce Willis’ “The Sixth Sense” co-star Haley Joel Osment and director M. Night Shyamalan both took to social media to praise the actor after he announced on March 30 that he’s stepping away from the profession following an aphasia diagnosis. Aphasia is a language disorder caused by brain damage that affects a person’s ability to communicate. Osment had his acting breakthrough in the 1999 supernatural thriller “The Sixth Sense,” which grossed $672 million worldwide and earned six Academy Award nominations. Osment was Oscar-nominated for supporting actor.
“It’s been difficult to find the right words for someone I’ve always looked up to — first on the big screen, and then by some wild stroke of luck, in person,” Osment wrote in an emotional Instagram post. “He’s a true legend who has enriched all of our lives with a singular career that spans nearly half a century. I am so grateful for what I got to witness firsthand, and for the enormous body of work he built for us to enjoy for years and years to come.”
Osment added, “I just wanted to express the respect and deep admiration I have for Bruce and his family as they move forward with courage and high spirits that have always defined them.”
Shyamalan directed Willis in not just “The Sixth Sense” but also “Unbreakable” and “Glass.” The filmmaker wrote on Twitter, “All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis. I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as kid.”
John Travolta was another former co-star of Willis’ using social media to praise the actor. The two actors both appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” while Willis provided the voice of the baby in the Travolta-starring comedy “Look Who’s Talking.”
“Bruce and I became good friends when we shared two of our biggest hits together,” Travolta wrote. “Years later he said to me, ‘John, I just want you to know that when something good happens to you I feel like it’s happening to me.’ That’s how generous a soul he is. I love you Bruce.”
Willis’ family revealed his aphasia diagnosis and retirement in a joint statement. “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” the family said. “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.”
All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis. I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as kid.
— M. Night Shyamalan ⌛ (@MNightShyamalan) March 31, 2022