Robin Williams had early-stage Parkinson’s Disease, wife says

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Officials: Robin Williams apparently hanged himself with a belt

TIBURON, Calif. (CNN) — Robin Williams was sober, but was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he died, his widow said Thursday.

Williams was found dead in his Northern California home Monday from what investigators suspect was a suicide by hanging.

While fans and friends have looked for answers to why the 63-year-old comedy icon would take his own life, his wife, Susan Schneider, issued a written statement that could shed some light:

“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid.

Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.

Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.

It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”

Williams had been active as an actor in the last year of his life, performing in a CBS sitcom that was canceled earlier this year and acting in four films that have yet to hit theaters.

He spent time in a treatment facility in July, a time when his wife and representative have said he was battling depression.

Media reports at the time speculated that Williams had resumed drinking alcohol, but the statement from his wife appears to dispute those reports.

Williams entered rehab because of drug and alcohol addiction at least twice previously.

2 comments

  • Mork

    Oh please! He had a belt around his neck sitting, strangulation during masturbation, same thing David Carradine died of.

  • Mindy

    Auto-erotic asphyxiation. Be very careful – many people die doing this. Basically, you tie something around your neck and tighten it as you reach orgasm. However, it's quite possible you will pass out and not be able to untie the stricture, resulting in death.

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