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Robin Williams’s wife discloses actor had Parkinson’s disease

In a statement released today, Robin Williams’s wife, Susan Schneider, acknowledged the outpouring of support that those who loved Williams have received since the actor’s death on Monday, and she disclosed that Williams was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease:

“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.

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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.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder characterized by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slowness of movement. It progresses gradually in most people.

Williams, who long suffered from depression, was pronounced dead at his home in California at the age of 63. Authorities on Tuesday detailed how Williams took his life, saying the actor and comedian hanged himself with a belt in a bedroom of his San Francisco Bay Area home.

The legendary actor graced both the big and small screens during his decades-long career. In the late 1970s and early ‘80s he became well-known for his comedic character Mork on the TV sitcom “Mork & Mindy,” later also tackling dramatic roles in films such as “Dead Poets Society” (1989) and the locally-filmed “Good Will Hunting” (1997).

He won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for “Good Will Hunting,” and prior to that he was nominated for best actor in a leading role for his character in the war-comedy film “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), in which he showcased his rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness comedic style as a radio DJ, mostly improvising his broadcasts.

He recently starred in the TV series “The Crazy Ones” and was scheduled to reprise his role as Daniel Hillard in the comic film “Mrs. Doubtfire 2” in 2015.

More coverage:

Ty Burr: Robin Williams entertained us, but pain inside was unmistakable

Robin Williams’s career highlights

Notable figures react to Robin Williams’s death

Officials provide details on death of Robin Williams

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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