Action star Bruce Willis will be "stepping away" from his acting career due to health issues, his family has announced.

The 67-year-old US actor - most famous for his Die Hard films - has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, a condition "which is impacting his cognitive abilities".

Disclosing the news on social media, the Willis family said it had been a "really challenging time" for them and thanked fans for their "continued love, compassion and support".

"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," a statement shared on Instagram read.

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

Willis in his most famous role in Die Hard

"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."

The post was signed from Emma, Demi, Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn.

Willis has been a fixture on the small and large screen since the 1980s, coming to public prominence with the TV series Moonlighting.

But it was as hard-bitten hero John McClane in Die Hard that he became a bankable major star of the cinema, sparking a career that has generated billions of dollars of box office receipts.

Willis, who recently turned 67, provided the voice for the baby in the popular "Look Who's Talking," and showed his acting chops in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."

But one of his best-known roles over the last few decades was as the dead person that child actor Haley Joel Osment could see in The Sixth Sense.

Willis starred in The Sixth Sense

Willis won a Golden Globe and two Emmys during his career, but last weekend was the recipient of a far-less welcome honor - the Razzie for "Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie," a specially devised category.

Reaction to the news was swift from fellow stars.

Jamie Lee Curtis wrote: "grace and guts! Love to you all", while Cindy Crawford posted an emoji of praying hands.

Actress and former co-star Elizabeth Perkins wrote: "Sending so much love to you all."