More than a year has passed since Robin Williams' untimely death, but many people are still mourning the beloved actor and trying to make sense of his suicide. Now, his widow, one of the closest people to him, is breaking her long silence to share new details about his tragic struggle. In an interview with People, Robin Williams' widow Susan Williams opened up about his death and the many factors that drove him to take his life.
At the time that Robin died, the wide public perception was that depression had driven him to kill himself. "It was not depression that killed Robin," Susan said to People. "Depression was one of let's call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one."
Susan then explained that Robin was suffering from Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia, a neurodegenerative illness that causes hallucinations and impairments of motor functions, among other harrowing symptoms. The disease took hold of Robin in the last year before his death, and the terrible symptoms were getting worse in the months just before he committed suicide. But doctors were not able to figure out exactly what was wrong until the autopsy. The follow-up details from Susan about Robin's death, of course, are extremely upsetting and hard to hear. But they are also necessary to hear, and very important to talk about.
After all, Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia is the second most common neurodegenerative illness after Alzheimer's, so clearly this is a disease that is affecting a lot of people and their loved ones. But how often do you hear the disease talked about in the spotlight? Not nearly as often as Alzheimer's, that's for sure. It definitely deserves some awareness spread, especially since Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia is also often misdiagnosed. It is important for anyone who is suffering from similar symptoms or knows anyone who is to be aware of this being a possibility. Information is power after all, and it seems like Susan knows this. As she said in the People story,
This was a very unique case and I pray to God that it will shed some light on Lewy bodies for the millions of people and their loved ones who are suffering with it. Because we didn't know. He didn't know.
It is worth applauding Susan for speaking up about the disease. It could not have been easy for her, especially since the subject matter hits so painfully close to home. But as she explains, it can help shed light on others who are going through the same thing. Every little bit of awareness helps.