Robin Williams Was In Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Says Wife

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Robin Williams had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and was also struggling with anxiety and depression, his wife Susan Schneider revealed on Thursday.

“Robin’s sobriety was intact,” she said in the new statement. “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.”

Williams was found dead Monday morning at his Northern California home. Police said the 63 year-old actor hanged himself.

“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,” she added.

“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.”

Williams had publicly acknowledged his struggles with substance abuse and had recently entered a rehabilitation program in Minnesota for what was described at the time as a way to “fine-tune and focus on his continuing commitment” to sobriety.

His wife insisted the actor was not using drugs or alcohol leading up to his death. Williams married Schneider, his third wife, in 2011.

The actor’s family has been eager to diffuse any rumors or media speculation since his death on Monday, working with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office to announce Williams’ suicide three hours after being found, as well as provide as many details as possible.

Results from the autopsy of the late Oscar-winner were announced on Tuesday. Toxicology results will be available in two to six weeks.

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  1. Sue slick says:

    Correction to my comment, my name is sue slick not Susan stone

  2. Susan Stone says:

    My deepest sympathy goes out to Robins family. He was always one of my favorite actors & comedian since Mork & Mindy! I will miss him greatly! My dad committed suicide back in April of 1992 so I truly understand anyone who goes through this, it’s not easy but it will get better with time! My prayers & thoughts will always be with you!

  3. I am sorry Robin that we all didn’t see your pain. We all miss you and thank you for giving the world support and happiness though your laughter and joy. We all love you and I hope that when I enter heaven you are the first to greet me with that great big smile. Please forgive us all for not helping you though your pain. I miss you!

  4. Ellen says:

    An amazing man, and will be missed by the world. He made people laugh, and that’s probably the best thing anyone can do. To make people smile is a wonderful thing to offer…while many people did not know him personally, and saw him through his work (such as myself), a lot of us experienced his humor within their childhood and something like that isn’t easily forgotten. RIP Robin, from the impact of your death, you will be greatly missed.

  5. steve duarte says:

    He will be missed, many wonderful memories filled with laughter, from jumanji, flubber,mrs doubtfire,and many more to mark & mindy.rest in peace. Nano,nano

  6. lindakauling says:

    I first saw Robin Wlliams on Mork and Mindy and instantly fell in love with the inner child inside Robin? Robin Williams like many people hid some facts of the life? Robin Williams gave me many years of laughter and Love, the only way He knew how with comedy? I for one will Miss this great man dearly and when I look up to Heaven I know Robin Williams is getting for Angel Wings. He will make all the people roll all over the streets of Heaven with laughter. Rest in Peace Mork, We Love you Na Nu, Na Nu?

  7. Eileen says:

    Robin Williams was the kind of person, although distant from my personal life, that made me feel everything was going to be”ok”… I knew he struggled personally but always thought he would make it through…it’s a hard death to comprehend…really upsetting…not condoning suicide but I also get it…

  8. snpritchard says:

    Robin Williams was so good at bringing joy and laughter to others it is such a same he couldn’t find it himself. He was a godsend and will truly be missed

  9. Kim says:

    I’ve never met Robin, but as a psychiatrist who has treated people with Parkinsons I can say generally that in the early stages of Parkinsons, he may have suffered not only depression that was of a severity that was out of character for him, but also impulsivity and occasional delirium-like episodes connected to a related cognitive impairment. His suicide might have been very out of character for who he has always been. As someone who grew up with Robins’s gifts and warmth onscreen, this gives me at least a little comfort, and I hope it gives others comfort as well. All my love to his family.

  10. tom cox says:

    My deepest sympathy to his wife and three kids. I was lucky when in the navy from 1974-86 yo see him doing his best, Comedy. He has heaven now to entertain. God Bless

    • Dan Stewart says:

      Look….when I subscribed to your site, I didn’t sign up to get an alert every 5 seconds! UNSUBSCRIBE ME IMMEDIATELY! !!!!

  11. gail says:

    Robin, What does it look like in heaven?

  12. Robin will be missed by many people and especially me. For I suffer from PTSD. I wish that demon would go away but it won’t. Robin you were so loved. And you will be so missed.

  13. Thierry says:

    I don’t think his toxicology report needs to be made public, what matters now is how much he was admired for his immeasurable talent, his generosity, and being a wonderful father and human being! I feel as if I grew up with him, my most memorable performance was “Patch Adams” he got in trouble for being happy,lol. I also have a friend who has a pic of Mr, Williams with her baby boy in the hospital, they ‘re now together again, she is left with a photo and memory to treasure. Not nearly enough, but somehing

  14. daisy says:

    How sad hes the 1 ot the great actor in hollywood..condolence to the family…

  15. Mike says:

    Interesting new information, but his death is still very sad.

  16. Ronnie Vun says:

    Robin Williams is forever remembered. He done so many realistic movies touched many lives. If I’m not wrong, his Rain Man and Centennial Man are phenomenal. He is legendary. No one could replace him. I pray that he has Jesus on his side. For us all, we’re to be proactive in pursuing fellow mankind struggle in this life, for this place is just temporary. Put your trust in Him. He will not forsaken you if you believe.

  17. lois says:

    Suiside is hard to accept for those of us left behind. However, for people like myself who once was able to run and jump understands the difference in the quality of life. Indeed if he knew Parkinsons was what he had to look forward to plus fighting depression and all the complications he had as well is tough. This could have been a thoughout decision to end it while he was able to decide for himself whether to continue living with his demons or to stop while he can. I will miss him.

  18. Robin Williams has been a house hold name since as far back as I can remember. Even now when I hear his name I think about Mrs. Doubt Fire. I loved it and now my children love it. May god bless his entire family and may he rest in peace.

  19. Richard Warren says:

    My sincere condolences to Robin Williams family. I grew up first watching him in mork and Mindy and then followed his career all my life. I was just a kid then and I’m 50 yrs. Old now. He made me laugh and smile when I didn’t have much to be smiling about. I will miss him, for he was one of the GREATS!!! Rest in peace, the world has lost a great man.

  20. Cheryl Martin says:

    Robin will be greàtly missed. He always put a smile on your face or made you really feel what he was trying to convey about/or to a person. He was a wonderful person to help so many.

  21. Deniece says:

    there isn’t anyone but God that will know the triumph in the trials that you’re going through it was just a little bit too much maybe for him to bear we all go through those moments sometimes but I guess he just didn’t want to put his family through those things that he would be going through I say God bless him and it’s between him and God to know the struggles that he had, my hope the family will have the comfort that they need for the lost of they have suffered.

  22. Jim Laubler says:

    For those questioning his bravery, this proves you dead wrong. I think it took a lot of bravery to put the disease away and spare your family from the upcoming care and hardships. I would hope I have the same bravery if my conditions get that bad.

    Thanks for taking care of the troops, Robin. Enjoy the rest and we soldiers will protect your family from afar.

  23. Ross Kardon says:

    In 2011, I saw Robin Williams in the Broadway show BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO. It was a wonderful show. I now realize how I fortunate I was to have seen Robin this one time performing in public.

    Words cannot describe how I now miss Robin and mourn his passing away.

  24. Danny Stewart says:

    I was very shocked when I heard the news of Robin Williams death. I have always been a fan of his and deeply admirred him for his unique and tremendous ability to entertain EVERYONE he came into contact. He is an individual who, although he has passed away, he will remain very much alive in three minds and memories of people all around the world…I know he will inn mine.
    To his Family, I pour out my compassion and condolences, and pray that their suffering for such a terrible loss becomes more and more bearable with time. I Am so very sorry for your loss, and I know words from me, someone you do not even know, may not/cannot mean as much as I wish they did…but know that my heart breaks for you all!
    To his Daughter, Zoey, I Am extremely sorry for the incredible stupidity of “people” in general for their unforgivable acts of cyber bullying you’ve been faced with and forced to deal with, because you definitely NEVER DESERVED to have to deal with that, especially in the face of losing your Amazing Father. I cannot begin to express my desires to erase that from existence from your mind.
    I am almost certain you may never see this message, but it does not decrease the intensity of my true feelings. Again, your loss is something I too feel…(not nearly like yours)…but ìt is a loss I shall feel deeply for a very long time. I shall keep you all in my prayers.
    With the deepest respects,
    Danny Stewart
    stewartclanofscotland@gmail.com

  25. Jeramey says:

    I really loved Robin Williams. He was one of my favorite actors. It is a shame the man who brought so much laughter to the world couldnt be helped and find enough joy to stay here. RIP Robin Williams you will be missed by many thanks for all the laughter.

  26. Alberto Lopez says:

    Always I will remember Mr Williams for the enjoyment he to my life with laughter and humor
    My heart go to the family.God take him in his arms.

  27. Tamie says:

    I grew up watching Robin Williams. He was the one, no matter how badly you were feeling or whatever the difficulty, he would always make me laugh. Rest in Peace Mr. Williams.

  28. Susan Spanjer says:

    Robin will be greatly missed. He left some big shoes to fill. And no one will be able to full them. He was a great entertainer. I enjoyed his movies. As well as his interviews. Because you never knew what Robin would come up with. Thanks Robin for the entertainment.
    Robin Williams family I’m sorry for your loss.

  29. Conge says:

    Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

    So instead of treatment let’s kill ourself? Doesn’t add up. Let’s look at the antidepressant he was taking & whether or not the ‘May cause an increase in suicidal thought or actions’ could have played a factor in his death.

    • PissOff says:

      My father has advanced Parkinson’s and my uncle died of it. I will most likely get it. I can’t say that the choice to “check out” is outside the realm of possibilities and unless you are faced with a degenerative disease and watch yourself gradually become a shadow of what you once were, I doubt you could rule it out either.

    • Jim Laubler says:

      I figure it was the ultimate act of love to protect his family from the awful future they would have had to endure.

  30. David K. says:

    My father suffered from Parkinson’s and ultimately died as a result of obtaining radical surgical treatment. His Parkinson’s disease was accompanied by a deep and abiding depression that was equally untreatable. This is common in Parkinson’s sufferers. I hope that from the suffering of others, we can find in ourselves an understanding of the depth of pain and blamelessness of our loved ones who are ill. It is never easy to cope with these diseases. They place unbearable burdens upon others and they do not discriminate by race, gender, or class. I also hope that the general discussion of Robin Williams’ suffering and our loss of him will serve to shed light on what makes us human, and encourage people to respond to others who are ill in body, mind or soul with the extra patience, compassion and strength that they need from those of us who are lucky enough to be well.

    • Danny Stewart says:

      Too the author of the negative…”get help”vs “suicide”…you are one cold bastard! You have no compassion whatsoever and deserve something I cannot dare write, or risk being read by the public! You are one pathetic S.O.B.!

  31. JimmyFitz says:

    He was a sweet human being. Treated everybody he met with love and respect. God Bless him.

  32. Penny Nep says:

    I just feel like sharing ENORMOUS AMTS OF LOVE to The Williams Family and more importantly, The Newest Angel in Heaven, Robin Williams.. May he find the peace his soul was desperate for and may he see grin the heavens above that he WILL FOREVER STAY ON OUR HEARTS….XO, The Nep Family

  33. Daphne Lee says:

    We love Robin Williams. You were one of my favorite actors. I enjoyed your shows and you made me laugh all the time since Mork and Mindy. May God bless him and his family as he lay to rest.

  34. Lillian Peacock says:

    That’s sad but he was one if my favorite comedians and I lived him in Mrs. Doubtfire, R.I.P Robin Williams you will be greatly missed and I’m praying for his family

  35. Cheryl says:

    So very sad, and I’m sure that this just added to the depression that he was already dealing with. I hope that he has found the peace that he couldn’t seem to find in this life. RIP Robin. You have left a huge void in the world, and the comedy scene. You were a genius! Never can you possibly be replaced, one of a kind. We watched one of your performances last night via Netflix I laughed and I cried. Laughed at your humor, cried knowing this great talent has moved on to the next level. I’m sure you have the angels in stitches. I hope that when my time comes, I will finally get to see you perform. Bless you Mr. Williams.

  36. patti says:

    I grew up with him saw every comedy show the the goof and nasty ones he was loved will miss him dearly god bless

  37. Tina M. says:

    God bless you and your family! Robin is in a better place, no longer suffering! May your suffering end soon too!

  38. Serene says:

    Bless his heart. In a strange way, I get it now. He was not selfish. He just didn’t want to be a burden. He was selfless.

  39. Irene Elder says:

    Robin was & will b a well remembered actor & comedian. May he rest in peace & I hope some good will come out of his sad & tragic death. I hope both young & old with mental heath issues get the help they need

  40. Bill says:

    God this just keeps getting more devastating

    • mitchell says:

      So with all this AND depression she doesn’t even check in on him before she leaves at 10:30 am.
      Don’t understand her…

      • Danny Stewart says:

        I do not…don’t even want, to understand the infinite “STUPIDITY” of people who feel they just have to post any/all negativity about this incredible man….or for that matter…anyone suffering, who happens to face overwhelming odds that they simply can no longer handle. You have a right to think and believe ANYTHING because you are an American…but you have absolutely NO RIGHT to post them in any public forum that may be read by those who suffered the loss of their husband, father and friend. I can only hope that when you pass…someone can find 6 people they can bribe or pay enough to carry your dead carcass to burial.

      • Randy says:

        Hey Jacques, is it okay if we have an opinion or curiosity about this? I didn’t know you were part of the comment police. We’re all just expressing our sadness and dismay at hopeless situation and seeking understanding. If that’s not up to your standard, too bad.

      • mitchell says:

        Give me a break, of course if somebody is bound and determined to commit suicide, they’re going to do it. All I’m saying, that, if I get up in the morning and it’s 10:30 and I don’t see my wife, I’m going to check in on her before I leave the house. I think most couples would. Especially if they’re suffering.

      • Randy says:

        That bugs me too.

      • Jacques Strappe says:

        Just stop. And if his personal assistant hadn’t knocked on his door early, he might not have killed himself, either. Mr. Williams’ wife, children, friends and colleagues will be playing these “what if” scenarios in their heads indefinitely so give them a break. If someone is determined to take their life, they will try until they succeed. Someone can’t be under 24/7 supervision without being institutionalized.

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