In a statement released today, Robin Williams' wife says that not only was her husband struggling with depression and anxiety, but a diagnosis of early Parkinson's disease, as well. Although he was not yet ready to reveal the diagnosis, he remained strong and maintained his sobriety until he sadly ended his life on Tuesday.
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 disorder of the nervous system that affects movement of the body. It is chronic and progressive in nature, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Symptoms include tremors, slowed and deliberate movements, a stooped posture, and a decreased ability to perform movements such as blinking and smiling. Many of these symptoms are caused by the reduction of dopamine levels in the brain.
For more information on Parkinson's disease, see the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.