Tuesday 27 September 2016

Robin Williams was battling rare form of dementia, had 'three years left to live' before suicide

Nick Allen in Washington

Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30

Robin Williams and Susan Schneider
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider in 2009
Robin Williams
Susan Schneider, Robin Williams, and Zelda Williams
Robin Williams

Robin Williams's widow has said he had only about three years to live when he took his own life.

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In her first interview since the comedian's death in August last year, Susan Williams broke down as she said her husband had been "living a nightmare".

She said he had "just disintegrated" following his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease and had been increasingly paranoid in the time leading up to his death.

Mrs Williams told ABC News: "If Robin was lucky he would've had maybe three years left and they would've been hard years. And it's a good chance he would've been locked up."

Robin Williams and Susan Schneider in 2009
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider in 2009

Mrs Williams said on the night before he took his life, the 63-year-old offered her a foot rub before she went to sleep.

"I said 'It's OK, honey. You don't have to tonight'. And I'll never forget the look in his eyes of just, sad because he wanted to. And I said 'Goodnight, my love'."

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Williams then slept in a separate area of their California home and she did not see him in the morning before leaving for work.

Susan Schneider, Robin Williams, and Zelda Williams
Susan Schneider, Robin Williams, and Zelda Williams

At 11.30am his assistant rang to say Williams had not woken up. Mrs Williams rushed home.

She said: "That 20-minute car ride, I just screamed the whole way, 'Robin!'. I just wanted to see my husband. And I got to see him, and I got to pray with him. And I got to tell him 'I forgive you 50 billion per cent, with all my heart. You're the bravest man I've ever known'. You know, we were living a nightmare."

She also said he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease only a few months before his death, and that a coroner's report found signs of Lewy body dementia, a difficult-to-diagnose condition that leads to a decline in thinking and reasoning abilities. That may have contributed to the anxiety and depression for which he was treated in his last months, and that likely played a role in his August 2014 suicide.

Williams, who had battled substance addiction, was clean and sober when he died, she said, having recently marked eight years of sobriety.

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

Irish Independent

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