The entire world was moved to tears by Robin Williams’s profound acting and comedy.
He had an incredible knack for making people laugh, despite his own struggles. To say that Williams’s life was extraordinary would be an understatement.
The news of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams’s suicide on August 11, 2014, shocked and upset people all over the world.
According to the autopsy report, Williams died of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a neurological disorder characterized by the formation of protein deposits known as Lewy bodies in nerve cells in the brain regions important for cognition, memory, and movement (motor control).
Williams’ lifetime battle with Parkinson’s disease stunned many.
The degenerative nature of LBD meant that it would have gradually taken Williams’ ability to remember, move, and live. Only he knows the full extent of his anguish and sorrow before making the decision to take his life.
Wife Susan Schneider played a never-ending game of whack-a-mole with Robin’s symptoms. She claims that nobody told them what was wrong while they frantically searched for a cure for the mysterious monthly illness.
Close friend and actor Billy Crystal noticed the drastic change in Williams’ looks. Robin confided in Crystal one day, “I can no longer be funny,” as Crystal himself revealed. He had a panic attack at work and felt he would never be able to make people laugh again.
Williams’ condition grew worse as the end of his life drew near. The actor who could memorize thousands of lines without a hitch found himself struggling on site.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with Lewy body dementia may have visual hallucinations, as well as shifts in awareness and focus.
He was having a terrible time of it, and it was making him anxious and irritable. There were no solutions in sight, and in fact, his investigation just made things worse.
Lewy body dementia is hard to diagnose since it shares symptoms with both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Spouse and fellow performer Susan Schneider Williams opened up about his misdiagnosis. She said his pathologies were some of the worst the physicians had ever seen.
Despite the couple’s many rehabilitative efforts, Williams’ condition deteriorated over time. Stomach cramps, heartburn, and other digestive problems plagued him. When at rest, his left hand began to shake. It was anyone’s guess what would happen to the couple.
The disruptions to his vision and smell had made him so anxious that he had difficulties sleeping. Motor dysfunctions developed later in life, causing him to halt in mid-action on multiple occasions.
Susan likened their efforts to treating the symptoms to a game of whack-a-mole, where nothing seemed to work.
In the fall of 2013, Williams’ acquaintances noticed that he seemed thinner and weaker than normal. Antipsychotic medicine just made Williams more aware of his mental decline.
Williams took his own life because he could not bear his circumstances. Robin Williams was a gifted actor who could convincingly portray a wide range of characters.
His untimely death stunned many of his friends and family.
Even if we didn’t know he was struggling with demons, Robin Williams will be remembered for the laughter he brought into our lives. He took his own life but not before leaving behind a wake of affection and joy for those he left behind. Rest in peace.
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