Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Williams 'had Parkinson's disease'

Actor Robin Williams was found dead at his home in California
Actor Robin Williams was found dead at his home in California

Actor Robin Williams 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 today that Williams was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson's when he was found dead earlier this week.

The wife of the actor-comedian said he was not ready to share his Parkinson's diagnosis publicly.

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

Ms Schneider did not give any details on when Williams had been diagnosed or his symptoms.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system which affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a small tremor in one hand. The disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

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

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."

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.

Robin Williams died at the age of 63
Robin Williams died at the age of 63
Na-Nu Na-Nu: Robin Williams as Mork and co-star Pam Dawber as Mindy McConnel
Robin Williams was found dead at his home in California
File photo dated 15/5/1997 of Robin Williams, Annabella Sciora and Cuba Gooding Jr publicise their new film "What Dreams May Come", at the 50th Cannes Film Festival.
Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)
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Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting (1997)
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Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Robin Williams
Robin Williams starred in the original Mrs Doubtfire movie
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Actor Robin Williams presents the Pioneer Award onstage during the 6th annual "TV Land Awards" held at Barker Hangar on June 8, 2008 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TV Land)
Robin Williams performs at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 25, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bob Brye/Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images)
Robin Williams speaks during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA)
Actor Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of Magnolia Pictures' "World's Greatest Dad" at The Landmark Theater on August 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Robin Williams accepts the Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star award during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA)
Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/Getty Images for PCA)
Actor Robin Williams and Susan Schneider arrive at the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' "Old Dogs" held at the El Capitan Theatre on November 9, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/Getty Images for PCA)
Actor Robin Williams attends the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Happy Feet Two" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on November 13, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Robin Williams said he enjoyed working with the cast of Happy Feet Two in Australia
Robin Williams says Happy Feet 2 is as good as, if not better than, the original
Susan Schneider and comedian Robin Williams attend The Comedy Awards 2012 at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Comedian Robin Williams accepts an award onstage at The Comedy Awards 2012 at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Robin Williams attends CBS 2013 Upfront Presentation at The Tent at Lincoln Center on May 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Robin Williams in Boulevard (Courtesy Tribeca Film Festival)
Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choicre Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Caulfield/Getty Images for PCA)

"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.

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