Today (July 21, 2022) marks the late Robin Williams’ 71st birthday. Although he was known for his lovable roles such as Aladdin’s Genie and Dr Patch Adams, he suffered from tragic health problems behind the scenes that only came to light after his tragic passing.
The film industry lost a Hollywood icon eight years ago on August 11, 2014 when it was discovered that Williams had tragically taken his own life at his California home.
As a comedic genius, he injected his world-class wit into over 100 films, becoming an inspiration for actors and comedians alike, while bringing roars of laughter to cinemas around the world.
Despite his charming characters, he battled severe health issues that heightened during his later years. Unforutnately, he was only diagnosed after his death.
NEW: Where Robin Williams’ kids are now including following his showbiz footsteps
Photo by Polygram Filmed Entertainment/Getty Images
Robin Williams suffered from depression and anxiety
At the time of his passing, an initial report by NBC News mentioned that the actor “battled addiction for decades”, but that was not what led to his passing. According to The Guardian, he was a heavy drinker and cocaine addict in the 80s, but quit the dangerous lifestyle following the overdose of friend John Belushi. “It sobered the s*** out of me,” he admitted.
NBC News later confirmed that no illicit drugs or alcohol were found in his system, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office autopsy report. However, he was suffering from anxiety, depression and early stages of Parkinson’s Disease at the time of his death.
Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, clarified in 2021 that her husband had been “clean and sober for eight years when he passed”.
Paired with feelings of paranoia, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year before his death and took medication to improve the condition.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images
“His brain was falling apart”
His mental health problems were a symptom of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), which was only diagnosed in the autopsy. But it wasn’t a surprise to Schneider as she witnessed his insomnia, spiralling anxiety and mild depression. The graphic designer criticised news reports that focused on his battle with addictions, rather than addressing the real illness at hand.
“We as a culture don’t have the vocabulary to discuss brain disease in the way we do about depression. Depression is a symptom of LBD and it’s not about psychology – it’s rooted in neurology. His brain was falling apart,” she said.
Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
According to Parkinson’s Foundation, LBD is the second most common type of dementia behind Alzheimer’s. LBD and Parkinson’s have similar symptoms, but their development and treatment are different.
Dr Jennifer Goldman, section chief of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, states that motor symptoms in Parkinson’s, such as tremors and stiffness, precede the dementia. In LBD, however, the initial sign is dementia, and motor symptoms follow.
The Oscar-winning actor was reported to have experienced a handful of symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose LBD, which is why the world only knew about his mental health after he died.
If you are affected by any issues raised in the article or would like someone to speak to, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. You can also email them at email@example.com or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch in the UK. In the US, please visit Samaritans USA for more information.
You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to get in touch with the Crisis Text Line. Americans can now call or text 988 to reach out and speak to a counsellor.
The post Robin Williams’ secret sadness only came to light after his tragic death appeared first on Ladunblog.
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