Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ widow Susan Schneider claims it ‘was not depression’ that killed Hollywood star

THE Mrs Doubtfire actor took his own life last year and his wife today broke her silence on her pain and said it was a debilitating brain disease that led to his death.

THE widow of tragic movie star Robin Williams has broken her silence to say “it was not depression that killed” her husband.

Susan Schneider said it was a debilitating brain disease that led the Hook actor, 63, to take his own life at their San Francisco home in August last year.

Speaking to America’s People magazine his wife said it was Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia or Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) that ultimately led to his death.

“It was not depression that killed Robin,” she said.

“Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one.”

Often misdiagnosed, DLB is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s causing hallucinations, impairment of motor functions and changes in mental state.

Susan Schneider and fiancee Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play "Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo" on Broadway
Susan Schneider and fiancee Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play “Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo” on Broadway (Image: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Graphic designer Susan explained the disease started taking its toll on Robin in the year before his death causing him to endure anxiety, delusions and impaired movement.

“They present themselves like a pinball machine,” she said of the symptoms.

“You don’t know exactly what you’re looking at.”

She said in the months leading up to his death he experienced crippling anxiety attacks, muscle rigidity and a “miscalculation” with a door that left his head bloodied.

Despite his problems doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause. It was only until the autopsy did they find the true extent of his disease.

“I know now the doctors, the whole team was doing exactly the right things,” Susan said.

“It’s just that this disease was faster than us and bigger than us. We would have gotten there eventually.”

Speaking about to coming to terms with his death last August, the 51-year-old added: “I’ve spent this last year trying to find out what killed Robin.

“To understand what we were fighting, what we were in the trenches fighting and one of the doctors said, ‘Robin was very aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it,’ “ she says.

“This was a very unique case and I pray to God that it will shed some light on Lewy bodies for the millions of people and their loved ones who are suffering with it.

“Because we didn’t know. He didn’t know.”

Speaking on the Good Morning America show Susan said she did not blame Robin for taking his own life.

Saying there were many reasons for his decision she said: “I think he was just saying, ‘No.’ And I don’t blame him one bit.”

She then called him “the bravest man I’ve ever known.”

Susan described how it affected her husband’s day-to-day life saying he was suffering from stiffness, slumping and “losing his ability in his voice.”

“It’s one minute, totally lucid,” she recalled. “And then, five minutes later, he would say something that wasn’t – it didn’t match.”

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