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Robin Williams Suffered Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Wife Reveals

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Robin Williams (Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi / Flickr)

Robin Williams (Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi / Flickr)

Robin Williams was sober, but was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he died, his widow said Thursday.

Williams was found dead in his Northern California home Monday from what investigators suspect was a suicide by hanging.

While fans and friends have looked for answers to why the 63-year-old comedy icon would take his own life, his wife, Susan Schneider, issued a written statement that could shed some light.

“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,” Schneider said. “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.”

Williams had been active as an actor in the last year of his life, performing in a CBS sitcom that was canceled earlier this year and acting in four films that have yet to hit theaters.

He spent time in a treatment facility in July, a time when his wife and representative have said he was battling depression.

Media reports at the time speculated that Williams had resumed 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.
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

1 Comment

  • Sue

    The world has lost a great man! Not only a wonderful entertainer, but, from all accounts you ever read of him, a truly kind, generous person.
    My father suffered with Parkinson’s. If Mr. Williams wasn’t already depressed, knowing he had that cruel disease would certainly cause depression. People always say that suicide is the ‘easy way out’ and is hardest on the ones you love. I think it would be easier to lose someone while they still recognize you then to have their body alive with a dead mind inside of it. No, I am not advocating all Parkinsons/dementia patients should commit suicide. I DO, however, see where he may have thought he was doing his family a favor. It’s a horrible thing to watch your father fall over backward all of a sudden, totally lose control of his limbs at any time, and then, not even know who you are, or be able to recognize his own grand children, or even his own wife to whom he was married for 60 years.

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