"In Robin's case, on top of being a genius, he was a Julliard-trained actor. I will never know the true depth of his suffering, nor just how hard he was fighting. But from where I stood, I saw the bravest man in the world playing the hardest role of his life."
The world lost a shining beacon of light in August 2014. News of Robin Williams's suicide was as devastating as it was unbelievable. All people saw was the charming smile on his face, but people failed to notice there was no light in his eyes anymore. Williams was in a tough place, both professionally and personally, making it hard for him to cope. According to Vanity Fair, it was from the beginning of October 2013 that Williams' health began to decline. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep. He had a lot of bowel-related problems. Also, in May 2014, he had been told that he had Parkinson’s disease. Shortly after, he began to experience tremors in his left arm. He also experienced symptoms of cogwheel rigidity, where the limb would inexplicably stop itself at certain fixed points in its range of motion. His voice had diminished, his posture was stooped, and at times he simply seemed to freeze where he stood.
The saddest part of it all was that he was actually misdiagnosed. After his death, an autopsy revealed that he actually had Lewy body dementia, an aggressive and incurable brain disorder with an associated risk of suicide. Although Williams was unaware of the condition he was in, he had memory problems and was unaware to remember his lines towards the end of his career. According to Telegraph, during the 2014 movie Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which was his last on-screen role, he had a lot of trouble with his lines. "He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day. It was horrible. Horrible," Cheri Minns, a member of the film's makeup team, told Itzkoff. “I said to his people, ‘I’m a makeup artist. I don’t have the capacity to deal with what’s happening to him.’ ”
The comedian's widow, Susan Schneider Williams, has said her husband fought to hold back the effects of the disease. "People with LBD who are highly intelligent may appear to be okay for longer initially, but then, it is as though the dam suddenly breaks and they cannot hold it back anymore," she wrote, in a 2016 article for the medical journal Neurology, called The Terrorist Inside My Husband's Head. "In Robin's case, on top of being a genius, he was a Julliard-trained actor. I will never know the true depth of his suffering, nor just how hard he was fighting. But from where I stood, I saw the bravest man in the world playing the hardest role of his life."
Here are some of his profound words of wisdom: