Robin Williams was suffering from Parkinson's disease at the time of his death. In a new statement released today, his wife, Susan Schneider, publicly revealed the diagnosis. Robin, 63, was found dead in his Marin County, CA, home on Monday morning from an apparent suicide. Susan says she is speaking out about his illness in an attempt to help others who are suffering from diseases like Parkinson's and depression reach out for care and support. She also took the opportunity to say that her husband, who struggled with substance-abuse issues over the years, was sober leading up to his death. Her full statement reads as follows:
"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.
"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."
Actor Michael J. Fox, who has been battling Parkinson's himself for years, took to Twitter after hearing the news.
Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace.— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) August 14, 2014