Who is Chris Ellison? What is aphasia, does The Bill actor have same disorder as Bruce Willis, age and wife

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People with aphasia often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use language

Actor Chris Ellison has been diagnosed with aphasia, the same brain disorder Bruce Willis’ family recently revealed he is also suffering from.

But what is the condition and what are the symptoms?

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Chris Ellison?

Actor Chris Ellison played DCI Frank Burnside on The Bill and spin-off show Burnside, from 1984 until 2000.

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The 75-year-old TV star was diagnosed with aphasia after he suffered a stroke in 2020.

He has been left unable to speak for the past year and a half since he was diagnosed with the brain disorder.

Chris’s 69-year-old wife, Anita, told The Sun on Sunday: “It’s awful, we’ve been so lonely. Chris is trapped in his body. He can understand everything going on around him but can’t speak, read or write.

“He has not uttered any sense in 18 months. Sometimes I feel as if I have lost my charismatic, very funny and caring husband.

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“It’s frustrating for us both but when he looks into my eyes I see he’s still in there. I have cried buckets, it’s a kind of mourning. But he’s still here with us, still very caring and loving.”

What is aphasia?

According to the NHS, aphasia is when a person has difficulty with their language or speech and is usually caused by damage to the left side of the brain, for example, after a stroke.

People with aphasia often have trouble with the four main ways people understand and use language.

These are:

  • reading
  • listening
  • speaking
  • typing or writing

“Speaking problems are perhaps the most obvious, and people with aphasia may make mistakes with the words they use,” said the NHS.

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“This could be sometimes using the wrong sounds in a word, choosing the wrong word, or putting words together incorrectly.”

Aphasia can occur by itself or alongside other disorders, such as visual difficulties, mobility problems, limb weakness, and problems with memory or thinking skills.

Does Bruce Willis have aphasia?

Family members close to 67-year-old action star Bruce Willis recently revealed that he was having to retire from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia.

A statement shared by his 33-year-old daughter, Rumer, said: “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.

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

“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.”

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