Robin Williams was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he committed suicide earlier this week, his wife has said.
Susan Schneider, Williams’ widow confirmed that her husband had been sober but “not yet ready to share publicly” his struggles with Parkinson’s desease.
She went on, adding that the famous comedian had also been suffering from anxiety and depression caused by early stages of the desease.
“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid,” Schneider said.
“Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.”
“Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.”
“It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”
The 63-year-old starwas was found dead in an apparent suicide in his home on Monday.
Police said he died of asphyxia due to hanging.
“His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles,” Ms Schneider said in a statement, adding her husband’s sobriety was “intact”.
However, it’s unclear whether the early-stage Parkinson’s disease affected Williams’ ability to work.
“Friends and family can usually detect changes in the Parkinson’s patient including poor posture, loss of balance, and abnormal facial expressions,” said the National Parkinson Foundation. “During this initial phase of the disease, a patient usually experiences mild symptoms. These symptoms may inconvenience the day-to-day tasks the patient would otherwise complete with ease. Typically these symptoms will include the presence of tremors or experiencing shaking in one of the limbs.”
Parkinson’s disease “causes certain brain cells to die,” according tothe website of the National Institutes of Health. It is more likely to affect men than women and most often develops after age 50.
Fellow actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s and established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, told reporters that he was unaware of his friend’s desease.
“Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace,” Fox tweeted.
Sources close to the actor previously said that Williams was drinking alcohol, but the statement from his wife appears to dispute those reports.
Williams entered rehab because of drug and alcohol addiction at least twice previously.
“Robin spent so much of his life helping others,” his wife said. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid.”