Tags: robin williams | parkinsons | diagnosis | revealed | wife

Robin Williams Parkinson's Diagnosis Revealed by Wife

Image: Robin Williams Parkinson's Diagnosis Revealed by Wife
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By    |   Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 05:38 PM

Robin Williams was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease, his wife, Susan Schneider, revealed in a statement Thursday, and she also said the beloved comedian and actor died with his sobriety intact.

Williams died Monday after apparently committing suicide.

Schneider, Williams’ third wife, said her husband had not wanted to share the news of his illness publicly yet.

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“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,” the statement said. “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 progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, your face may show little or no expression or your arms may not swing when you walk,” The Mayo Clinic says. “Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson's disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.”

The outpouring of emotion over Williams’ death has brought attention to mental illness, and this week, calls to suicide hotlines have “surged,” according to USA Today.

At the news of Williams’ Parkinson’s diagnosis, Think Progress reported on the link between Parkinson’s and other chronic illnesses and depression. The diagnosis alone may have been enough to cause increased depression, the website said, particularly for someone like Williams who made his living through changing facial expressions, voice, and body language.

“Mental health experts say that it’s important to remember that depression alone rarely causes suicide,” Think Progress said. “A variety of risk factors — like substance abuse, family history, past suicide attempts, and other mood disorders — are typically in play. About 90 percent of the people who commit suicide have a psychiatric illness that’s going untreated or undertreated.”

Here is Williams' wife's statement in full:

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.


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Robin Williams was in the beginning stages of Parkinson's Disease, his wife, Susan Schneider, revealed in a statement Thursday, and she also said the beloved comedian and actor died with his sobriety intact.
robin williams, parkinsons, diagnosis, revealed, wife
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Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 05:38 PM
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