Robin Williams’ widow says he had dementia

By Sarah Harvey

Actor and comedian Robin Williams.
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Actor and comedian Robin Williams. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Comedian Robin Williams had health problems, including dementia, that would have killed him within three years if he had not ended his own life, his widow says.

Susan Williams, in her first interview since the actor was found dead in their Northern California home last August, said Robin, 63, was “disintegrating before my eyes”.

“We were living a nightmare,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America.

“If Robin was lucky, he would’ve had maybe three years left,” she said. “And they would’ve been hard years. And it’s a good chance he would’ve been locked up.”

Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had signs of a condition known as dementia with Lewy bodies, which disrupt the brain’s normal functions. He was also struggling with depression and anxiety but she believed it was not depression that caused Robin to take his life.

His physical symptoms included stiffness, slumping, a shuffling gait and “losing his ability in his voice”, she said.

“It’s one minute, totally lucid… And then five minutes later, he would say something that wasn’t… it didn’t match.”

The actor was dealing with his problems as well as he could, she said, describing him as “the bravest man I’ve ever known”.

“But the last month he could not. It was like the dam broke.”

Asked whether her husband’s suicide was his way of taking back control, she replied: “In my opinion, oh, yeah.

“I mean, there are many reasons. Believe me. I’ve thought about this. Of what was going on in his mind, what made him ultimately commit… you know, to do that act.

“And I think he was just saying, ‘No.’ And I don’t blame him one bit. I don’t blame him one bit.”

Lifeline New Zealand – 0800 543 354

Australia – 1300 22 46 36


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