Monday 22 December 2014

Emmy show plans Williams tribute

Published 15/08/2014 | 03:15

Robin Williams will be remembered at the Emmy Awards show on August 25
Robin Williams will be remembered at the Emmy Awards show on August 25

Robin Williams will receive a "meaningful" remembrance at this month's Emmy Awards.

Awards show producer Don Mischer said plans for the Los Angeles ceremony's traditional "in memoriam" sequence were being discussed.

He said organisers of the Emmy Awards - the TV world's Oscars - were still coming to terms with the Good Morning, Vietnam and Mrs Doubtfire star's death, but intended to give him the tribute he deserved.

Williams, 63, was found dead in his home in Tiburon, in California's San Francisco Bay area, on Monday . Marin County Sheriff's Department, which said Williams hanged himself, is conducting toxicology tests and interviews before issuing a final ruling.

The actor's wife, Susan Schneider, revealed yesterday that Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease when he died, but had not made the diagnosis public. He was also struggling with depression and anxiety.

Ms Schneider said: "Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, 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."

Williams' death shocked fans and friends alike, despite his candour about decades of struggle with substance abuse and mental health. With Parkinson's, he faced shouldering yet another challenge.

Parkinson's disease is an incurable nervous system disorder that involves a loss of brain cells controlling movement. Tremors, sometimes starting out in just one hand, are among the early symptoms.

It can also cause rigid, halting walking, slowed speech and sometimes dementia. Symptoms worsen over time and can often be treated with drugs.

Actor Michael J Fox, who has long had the disease and is known for his efforts to fund research into it, tweeted: "Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace."

Pop star Linda Ronstadt revealed in 2013 that she had Parkinson's and said the disease had robbed her of her ability to sing. Boxer Muhammad Ali, the late radio personality Casey Kasem and the late Pope John Paul II are among other well-known figures diagnosed with the condition.

Parkinson's affects about six million people worldwide. The cause is not known but genes are thought to play a role.

There is no standard test for Parkinson's - doctors rely on symptoms, medical history and neurological exams to make the diagnosis.

The Emmy Awards will be broadcast on August 25 on NBC.

Press Association

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