In a new documentary Robin’s Wish, the widow of Robin Williams opens up about the actor’s final days. Williams died in 2014 from suicide. In the months leading up to his death, Williams battled the onset of an undiagnosed neurodegenerative disease, Lewy body dementia.
“He was the bravest man in the world, playing the hardest role of his life,” his widow Susan Schneider Williams told USA TODAY. She serves as vice chair of the American Brain Foundation. “For someone as brilliant as Robin, who put his heart and soul into his career, to just start losing his abilities … it was devastating for him to watch what it means to be human slipping through his fingers.”
Robin Williams experienced insomnia, hallucinations and confusion.
In the final years of his life, Williams suffered from debilitating insomnia, paranoia, hallucinations and confusion. The actor frequently forgot or would fumble his lines while working on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones. This contributed to his increased anxiety and depression, which Williams had throughout his life.
Williams became a recluse in his own life, staying home rather than meeting up with friends or playing impromptu comedy shows. He became prone to panic attacks, unable to sleep and afflicted with delusional thoughts. Three months before his death, a doctor diagnosed Williams with Parkinson’s disease. LBD causes similar cognitive and motor impairments but generally progresses at a faster rate.
The actor’s condition seemed to improve in the days leading up to his death.
In his final days, Williams’ condition seemed to improve. On doctor’s orders, he moved into a separate bedroom and was sleeping better. The night before his death, he wished Schneider Williams “Good night, my love.” The couple made plans to mediate in the morning,
“All signs looked like he was getting better,” Schneider Williams said. “We were in the middle of adjusting medications for his Parkinson’s and depression, and had just switched a couple of them. It appeared that he was starting to sleep better. And he seemed more engaged and interested in reading. But clearly, that (wasn’t the case). Robin’s suicide was really a consequence of brain disease. His brain was so compromised. I look at it like, Robin wanted to end the disease. He just didn’t realize that meant he would end, too.”
Williams’ three kids – Zak, Zelda and Cody – do not appear in Robin’s Wish. They settled a legal battle with Schneider Williams over their father’s estimated $100 million estate out of court in 2015.
Schneider Williams said she remembers Williams as a romantic and a gentle soul.
[H/T: USA TODAY]