Robin Williams, the beloved actor and comedian, passed away in August of 2014. Until now, most people have concluded that it was depression that killed the star. In a new interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, Williams’ widow, Susan Williams, has cleared the air with the actual condition that killed him.
Williams said that it wasn’t depression or a relapse of problems with drugs and alcohol that killed her husband. Rather, it was discovered and confirmed that he had a case of Lewy Body Dementia. He had been suffering from many symptoms that puzzled his wife. He ended up being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in May of 2014.
Apparently, Lewy Body Dementia afflicts its sufferers with symptoms that are similar to a combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This compounded syndrome is thus a devastating condition. While his diagnosis of Parkinson’s explained the cause of many of his symptoms, it did not explain all of them.
Lewy Body Dementia is caused when proteins in the brain clump together into masses called Lewy bodies. As the problem spreads, the masses interfere with the transmission of signals in the brain. Like Alzheimer’s disease, its symptoms include cognitive problems. The patient becomes confused, has a shortened attention span, and suffers from memory loss. However, it also affects a patient physically. It affects their movements in a similar way that Parkinson’s does. On top of this, the patient’s mood is affected. This triple threat makes the disease hard to diagnose and treat.
Some of Williams’ symptoms really alarmed his wife. One time, he sustained some gashes to his head by miscalculating where the door was.
Susan Williams believes that her husband was losing his mind from the disease, and that he was aware that this was the case. She forgives him for taking his life because she feels that his suicide was a way of him taking back control of his life. It was not until the autopsy of Williams’ body that it was confirmed that he suffered from Lewy Body Dementia.
Despite his illness, his widow claims that he was happy at the end of his life.