Days after the devastating news that actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide was released, his wife Susan Schneider revealed that her husband had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This is the same disorder that celebrities Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali suffer from.
Williams was found dead at his home on Monday morning. According to Marin County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd, the actor committed suicide by hanging himself with his belt. The Good Will Hunting star was known to struggle with substance abuse and depression, but he was also suffering from something that he kept from the eye of the public: Parkinson’s disease.
Robin Williams’s wife made a statement on Thursday thanking everyone for their support and revealed that the actor was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. Read Schneider’s statement below.
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.
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.
Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace.
— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) August 14, 2014
For those who aren’t familiar with Parkinson’s, Mayo Clinic describes it as “a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement.” In addition to causing shaking, Parkinson’s also causes slurred speech and difficulty walking. Symptoms worsen over time, and there is no cure at this time.
The news that Robin Williams had Parkinson’s disease seemed to resonate with quite a few of his fans.
So Robin Williams had Parkinson's Disease. As a family member had this I know how bad it is. Coupled with depression it makes sense…
— stumblethru (@stumblethru) August 15, 2014
Knowing Robin Williams had Parkinson's makes it slightly easier to swallow his suicide. Still sad loss but easier to understand somehow.
— rendelmetimbers (@a_rendel) August 14, 2014
No details have been released on when Williams’s family will hold his funeral. It is rumored that Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral.
Image via YouTube