Robin Williams’s Wife Reveals Actor Had Parkinson’s Disease

FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

On Thursday, the wife of legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, Susan Schneider, released a statement which revealed her husband was in the “early stages of Parkinson’s disease’’ at the time of his death.

In the statement obtained by The Boston Globe, Schneider also noted that “Robin’s sobriety was intact’’ and that “he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression’’ and anxiety.

Read the full 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.’’

Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that gradually inhibits a person’s ability to move muscles and speak. No signs of the disease are apparent in its early stages, but over time a person may start to notice subtle changes like a loss of facial expressions, no swinging movement in the arms when walking, and hand tremors.


Up to 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience mild or moderate depressive symptoms, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Previous research suggests that Parkinson’s can alter hormone-levels in the brain that control mood.

Williams was found dead on Monday from an apparent hanging at his Calif. home.

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