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Dublin fans pay tribute as Williams' wife confirms actor had Parkinson's

Actor Robin Williams' wife said he was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease and was sober at the time of his apparent suicide, according to his wife.

Susan Schneider said Williams was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson's when he was found dead earlier this week.

Authorities have said the 63-year-old's death was suicide.

Ms Schneider said: "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."

She did not give any details on when Williams had been diagnosed with the condition that affects the nervous system.


Actor Michael J Fox, who has had the disease for years, is known for his efforts to fund research into it.

Williams had publicly acknowledged periodic struggles with substance abuse, and recently depression had prompted him to enter rehab.

Ms Schneider said those who loved Williams are taking solace in the outpouring of affection and admiration for him.

"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," she said in her statement.

Meanwhile, more than a thousand Dubliners last night gathered for a special open-air tribute screening of Dead Poet's Society.

Queues for the event snaked around Merrion Square and, instead of laying floral tributes, they came with blankets, bean bags, beach chairs and popcorn to celebrate what he did best: entertain and make people laugh.

Youth worker Eva Doyle (30), from Balbriggan, Co Dublin, said she's still in shock over the comedian's death, telling the Herald: "I've seen all of his movies and I love him.

"He's just a great actor. It's quite upsetting. It just hit me more than any other celebrity passing away because he just made everyone else laugh, it's a shame he couldn't find any joy himself."

Robert Savage (28), a fund manager from Cabra, and his girlfriend, teacher Chloe Farmer (26), from Castleknock, said they also saw the screening as a fitting tribute to an actor they loved.

Organised by spontaneous event managers Happenings, some of the proceeds from the screening will go to suicide prevention charity Pieta House.

Dublin street artists have also been paying tribute to Williams.

Stephen Cooke, aka Pan Cooke, from Blackrock, has been creating 'slap up murals' depicting the Mrs Doubtfire 
and Good Morning Vietnam star.

The sad news of his passing spurred the young artists to use his design on a wall near his home. "When I heard I got out of bed and had it up within an hour of hearing the news," he said.

Elsewhere in the city, an anonymous artist spray-painted a spectacular 
memorial on clingfilm stretched across between two lamp-posts on Henry Street.