iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) — Robin Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider Williams, has penned an emotional essay about the celebrated actor and comedian’s final days.
Williams committed suicide on Aug. 11, 2014. He was 63.
In her essay, published in the medical journal Neurology and titled “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain,” Schneider Williams wrote that she hopes her words will “help make a difference in the lives of others.”
“Not only did I lose my husband to LBD, I lost my best friend,” she wrote. “Robin and I had in each other a safe harbor of unconditional love that we had both always longed for.”
Schneider Williams continued, “For 7 years together, we got to tell each other our greatest hopes and fears without any judgment, just safety. As we said often to one another, we were each other’s anchor and mojo: that magical elixir of feeling grounded and inspired at the same time by each other’s presence.”
Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson disease in May 2014, but a coroner’s report after his death revealed that he also had Lewy body dementia, a common but hard-to-diagnose condition that may have contributed to his decision to commit suicide, medical experts have said.
Williams’ widow detailed how the disease affected his life.
“He had been struggling with symptoms that seemed unrelated: constipation, urinary difficulty, heartburn, sleeplessness and insomnia, and a poor sense of smell and lots of stress,” she wrote. “He also had a slight tremor in his left hand that would come and go.”
Along with “fear and anxiety,” Schneider Williams said that “some symptoms were more prevalent than others, but these increased in frequency and severity over the next 10 months.”
His widow even recalled an incident when Williams was filming “Night at the Museum 3” in April 2014. Williams had a panic attack on the Vancouver set.
“During the filming of the movie, Robin was having trouble remembering even one line for his scenes, while just 3 years prior he had played in a full 5-month season of the Broadway production ‘Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,’ often doing two shows a day with hundreds of lines — and not one mistake. This loss of memory and inability to control his anxiety was devastating to him,” she wrote.
“He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain,'” she wrote.
Schneider Williams concluded her essay by addressing researchers and doctors studying Lewy body dementia.
“You and your work have ignited a spark within the region of my brain where curiosity and interest lie and within my heart where hope lives,” she said. “I want to follow you. Not like a crazed fan, but like someone who knows you just might be the one who discovers the cure for LBD and other brain diseases.”
“Thank you for what you have done, and for what you are about to do,” she closed.
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