'The Sixth Sense' Star Haley Joel Osment Pens Tribute to Bruce Willis Following Retirement Announcement

In the wake of Bruce Willis' announcement that he is "stepping away" from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, his The Sixth Sense co-star Haley Joel Osment recently penned a touching tribute to the actor. In an Instagram post shared today on Osment's official account, Willis's black and white headshot is displayed with a lengthy message written underneath. "It's been difficult to find the right words for someone I've always looked up to," Osment began, "first on the big screen, and then by some wild stroke of luck, in person." 

"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," he continued. "I just wanted to express the respect and deep admiration I have for Bruce and his family as they move forward with the courage and high spirits that have always defined them." 

Osment, 33, achieved worldwide fame and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination at 11 years old, following his breakout role as Cole Sear in 1999's The Sixth Sense. Osment revealed in a 2014 interview that he had a "great experience" working with Willis on set. "When we were in The Sixth Sense, I think everybody was in the mode of like, 'All right, we have this wonderful thing, let's not mess it up,'" he said. "So everybody was in a good place. [Director M. Night Shyamalan] created a great atmosphere on the set. Bruce was having fun making that movie." 

In 2020, Osment told Decider, "Bruce was definitely the first time where I was, like, 'Okay, this is a big A-list star,' or whatever. But he was terrific. I mean, I wasn't going to the after-parties on Fridays, but he was DJ'ing for the crew and everything. He was definitely having a really good time on that movie." 

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On Wednesday, Willis' family released a statement that said his aphasia had caused him health issues, including cognitive impairment. "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," the statement continued. "As Bruce always says, 'Live it up' and together we plan to do just that."