News / Arts & Entertainment

Robin Williams Suffered from Early Parkinson's at Death

FILE - Actor Robin Williams, star of the new film "Old Dogs" arrives at the film's premiere in Hollywood, California, Nov. 9, 2009.
FILE - Actor Robin Williams, star of the new film "Old Dogs" arrives at the film's premiere in Hollywood, California, Nov. 9, 2009.
Reuters

Robin Williams was sober and suffering from early stages of Parkinson's disease as well as anxiety and depression at the time of his apparent suicide, the actor's widow said in a statement on Thursday.

Susan Schneider said Williams “was not yet ready to share publicly” his struggles with Parkinson's, an incurable and debilitating nervous system disorder that causes tremors and slowness of movement.

“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,” Schneider said in the statement.

The 63-year-old, Oscar-winning comedic virtuoso, whose madcap style and dramatic versatility made him one of film and television's top stars, was found hanged at his Tiburon, California, home north of San Francisco on Monday.

  • Actor Robin Williams participates in the "The Crazy Ones" panel at the 2013 CBS Summer TCA Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, July 29, 2013.
  • Robin Williams presents a tribute to Jonathan Winters on stage at the 65th Emmy Awards at Nokia Theater, Sept. 22, 2013, in Los Angeles.
  • Robin Williams gestures during a panel discussion for his HBO show "Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction" at the Television Critics Association Cable summer press tour in Pasadena, California, July 30, 2009.
  • Actor Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of the film "World's Greatest Dad" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 18, 2009.
  • U.S. comedian Robin Williams, third from left, poses for photographs with U.S. soldiers at a U.S. base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 20, 2007.
  • Actor Robin Williams (right) gets slimed by show host Jack Black at the 19th annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, April 1, 2006.
  • Comedian Robin Williams, wearing a camouflage jacket, entertains a cheering crowd of U.S. Army troops at Baghdad airport, Iraq, Dec. 16, 2003.
  • Comedian Robin Williams holds his Grammy Award to his ear as he poses for photographers at the 45th annual Grammy Awards at New York's Madison Square Garden, Feb. 23, 2003. Williams won the Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album for "Robin Williams Live 2002."
  • Actor and comedian Robin Williams (center) shares a laugh with rescue workers near the site of the World Trade Center collapse in lower Manhattan, Oct. 17, 2001. Williams spent time with rescue workers as well as surprising their wives with phone calls.
  • Robin Williams (C) sings the nominated song "Blame Canada" from the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" during the Academy Awards, March 26, 2000.
  • Oscar winners (left to right) Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck hold their Oscars for their work on the film "Good Will Hunting" at the 70th Annual Academy Awards, March 23, 1998, in Los Angeles. Damon and Affleck won for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Williams won for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Actress Pam Dawber (L) shares a laugh with actor Robin Williams as they pose for photographers before the annual American Museum of the Moving Image Tribute dinner, Feb. 23, 1995, in New York.
  • Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams, wearing a prop from his new film "Patch Adams" places his handprints in cement during ceremonies to honor him at Mann's Chinese Theater, in Hollywood, Dec. 22, 1998.
  • Comedians Robin Williams (R), Billy Crystal (L) and Whoopi Goldberg share a hug on the stage of New York's Radio City Music Hall at the end of HBO's "Comic Relief 8" show, June 14, 1998.
  • Comedian Robin Williams, who starred in "The World According to Garp," is shown, July 21, 1982, in Los Angeles.

The Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting star had been open about his struggles with alcohol and had gone to a Minnesota rehabilitation center this summer to “fine-tune” his sobriety, his publicist said in July.

Friends of the comedian, who first shot to prominence as a friendly alien in late 1970s TV series Mork & Mindy, described Williams as a man who masked his depression and thrived from performing for a crowd.

Williams' death, which has touched off a national conversation about suicide and depression, shook Hollywood and generations of fans.

U.S. President Barack Obama called him a “one of a kind” actor while directors and colleagues noted his humble nature, generosity and talent as one the most inventive comedians of his era.

  • Festival goers pay tribute to the late actor Robin Williams at a makeshift memorial at the 22nd Sziget (Island) Festival on the Shipyard Island in northern Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 13, 2014.
  • A woman walks past graffiti on a wall that shows late actor Robin Williams after he was found dead at his home in California, in Belgrade, Serbia, Aug. 13, 2014.
  • People pause by a bench at Boston's Public Garden, Aug. 12, 2014, where a small memorial has sprung up at the place where Robin Williams filmed a scene during the movie, "Good Will Hunting."
  • Visitors look at a photograph of Oscar-winning actor and renowned comedian Robin Williams displayed at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., Aug. 12, 2014.
  • Flowers sit in front of the home of Robin Williams, Aug. 11, 2014, in Tiburon, California.
  • A photo of the late actor Robin Williams as Mork from Ork hangs with flowers left by people paying their respects, in Boulder, Colorado, Aug. 11, 2014, at the home where his hit 1980s TV series "Mork & Mindy", was set.
  • A person walks past the marquee of the Laugh Factory with a message in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • Robin Williams' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is seen, Aug. 11, 2014, in Hollywood, California.
  • AJ Polis leaves a flower alongside a placard and a photo of the late actor Robin Williams as Mork from Ork, as people pay their respects at the home where the 1980's TV series "Mork & Mindy", was set, in Boulder, Colorado, Aug. 11, 2014.
  • Newspapers announcing the death of comedian Robin Williams are stacked on a newsstand in New York, Aug. 12, 2014.

“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,” Schneider said.

“His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles,” she added in the statement.

Funeral arrangements are pending, and a full toxicology report will take two to six weeks, local officials said.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."