It’s been three years since Robin Williams passed away, and the world is still mourning the tragic loss.
Celebrities who knew him tweeted tributes to the late actor and comedian, who took his own life Aug 11, 2014 at 63.
… I remember this day like it was yesterday …it was a San Francisco morning on the set of "Mrs Doubtfire" …a drive by fruiting…I thought we would be there all morning trying to get the shot, Robin nailed it on the second take. I am so proud to have been part of that movie and to have known the great Robin Williams.
Writing for the medical journal Neurology in 2016, Robin’s wife Susan Schneider Williams detailed the symptoms her husband suffered for years, and for which no one disease or diagnosis seemed to fit.
The search for answers went right through 2013 with no clear diagnosis. “By wintertime, problems with paranoia, delusions and looping, insomnia, memory, and high cortisol levels—just to name a few—were settling in hard,” Williams writes. “Psychotherapy and other medical help was becoming a constant in trying to manage and solve these seemingly disparate conditions.”
She also recalls her husband suffering a panic attack and not being able to remember lines while shooting “Night at the Museum 3”, which was apparently unusual for him. “This loss of memory and inability to control his anxiety was devastating to him,” she writes.
“He kept saying ‘I just want to reboot my brain.’” Williams recalls her husband saying after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a month before he died. “When we were in the neurologist’s office learning exactly what this meant, Robin had a chance to ask some burning questions. He asked, “Do I have Alzheimer’s? Dementia? Am I schizophrenic?” His doctor told him “No,” but that didn’t ease things.
The final month, things had gotten worse. Robin “was growing weary. The parkinsonian mask was ever present and his voice was weakened,” Williams writes. “His left hand tremor was continuous now and he had a slow, shuffling gait. He hated that he could not find the words he wanted in conversations. He would thrash at night and still had terrible insomnia. At times, he would find himself stuck in a frozen stance, unable to move, and frustrated when he came out of it. He was beginning to have trouble with visual and spatial abilities in the way of judging distance and depth. His loss of basic reasoning just added to his growing confusion.”
Still Williams’ last day with her husband was a good one. “We did all the things we love on Saturday day and into the evening, it was perfect – like one long date,” she writes. “By the end of Sunday, I was feeling that he was getting better. When we retired for sleep, in our customary way, my husband said to me, ‘Goodnight, my love,’ and waited for my familiar reply: ‘Goodnight, my love.’ His words still echo through my heart today.”
“I know you have accomplished much already in the areas of research and discovery toward cures in brain disease,” Williams writes. “And I am sure at times the progress has felt painfully slow. Do not give up. … If only Robin could have met you. He would have loved you—not just because he was a genius and enjoyed science and discovery, but because he would have found a lot of material within your work to use in entertaining his audiences, including the troops. In fact, the most repeat character role he played throughout his career was a doctor, albeit different forms of practice.”
“Thank you for what you have done, and for what you are about to do,” she concludes.