The final months of Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams’ life were difficult ones. His film career had faltered, as had a return to television with the sitcom “The Crazy Ones.” He struggled to maintain sobriety and checked into a rehab center in 2014, but also dealt with a variety of other health issues, including depression, anxiety, memory loss, and paranoia. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2014 seemed to indicate a root cause of his troubles. Williams’ well-being continued to decline. On August 11, 2014, the 63-year-old was found dead by suicide in his home in Tiburon, California.
When the Marin County Sheriff’s office released its coroner’s report in 2014, it confirmed what friends, family, and the public already knew: Williams died after hanging himself in a locked bedroom in his home and had also cut his wrists with a pocketknife. However, an examination of Williams’ brain revealed a shocking new diagnosis: Williams was suffering from Lewy body dementia, not Parkinson’s disease. The disorder, which affects 1.4 million Americans, is distinguished by a host of physical and mental issues, including memory and attention loss, hallucinations, behavioral issues, sleep and movement problems, and loss of bodily function control. According to Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider Williams, the actor struggled with near-constant fear, paranoia, and anxiety, as well as personality changes and insomnia, which eventually proved too overwhelming for the actor to withstand.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).