According to a statement published by his wife, the late comedian and actor Robin Williams had Parkinson's Disease.
The tragic suicide of comedian and actor Robin Williams had led to many of his friends and fans asking what could have driven him to take his own life. Today in a touching statement his wife Susan Schneider spoke of her husband's selflessness and personal struggles.
Williams battled great personal troubles whilst bringing joy to thousands through his work
She revealed that Williams had been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, an incurable afflication that affects the central nervous system. Williams had not been reading to disclose this information to the public at the time of his death. Schneider also confirmed that Williams was sober when he passed away.
Williams struggled publically with alcohol and drug addiction, although made the decision to get clean after the death of close friend John Belushi in 1982 as well as the birth of his first child, Zac.
In a statement published today, Schneider remarked that her husband always put others before himself, saying "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."
She also said that she hoped her husband's death would lead others privately suffering with illness to seek treatment: "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."
Parkinson's Disease affects seven million people globally, and notably actor Michael J. Fox has battled the condition since 1991 when he was diagnosed at just 30. Iconic boxer Muhammed Ali also suffers from the illness, having been diagnosed in 1994. There is no known cure.
However, a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has stated she does not believe Williams' diagnosis was the reason for his death. "We rarely see patients so depressed with Parkinson's that they commit suicide. I don't think his suicide had anything to do with his diagnosis. Williams had a mood disorder and was struggling mostly with mood issues." Said Dr. Cheryl Waters.