Robin Williams' widow is shedding light on her late husband's death. The comedian's passing in August 2014 at age 63 sparked speculation that he had relapsed into old addictions, but Susan Schneider laid the rumors to rest in a new interview with The Guardian.
"Robin had been clean and sober for six years when he passed," she said. "It infuriated me when the media said he'd been drinking, because I know there are recovering addicts out there who looked up to him, people dealing with depression who looked up to him, and they deserve to know the truth."
Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in May 2014, but the symptoms never quite added up. The "Patch Adams" star experienced severe anxiety and paranoia. Eventually he and Schneider made the decision to go to a neurocognitive testing facility, but a week before he was meant to go, he killed himself. Many said his suicide was due to depression, but Schneider said there was more to it.
"I think he didn't want to go. I think he thought: 'I'm going to get locked up and never come out,'" she said.
Only after his death did Susan learn that her husband had been suffering from Lewy body dementia, which can cause changes in thinking and reasoning as well as delusions and confusion, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Another symptom is insomnia. Williams' sleep disturbance was so severe that he made the tough decision to sleep in a separate room from Schneider.
In an interview with NBC's "Today" earlier this year, she recalled a sad moment when Williams asked her, "Does this mean we're separated?"
"When your best friend, your partner, your love — you realize that there's a giant chasm somewhere and you can't see where it is. But that's just not based in reality. That was a hard moment," she said.
Schneider also reflected on Williams' final wishes.
"I asked him, 'When we get to the end of our lives and we're looking back, what is it we want to have done?'" she said. "Without missing a beat, he said, 'I want to help people be less afraid.' I thought it was beautiful, and I said, 'Honey, you're already doing that. That's what you do.'"
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