Robin Williams was killed by something that was not apparent until his corpse was autopsied. He was killed by a nefarious brain disease that had him hallucinating objects, animals and people that are not there.
One of his doctors said, “Robin was very aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it.”
Speaking for the first time, Susan Williams, widow of the legendary actor, told People that he was killed by a brain disease called Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia or Dementia with Lewy Bodies. “It was not depression that killed Robin,” the widow said. “Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one,” she explained further.
According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, the disease is caused by protein deposits in nerve cells in regions of the brain that involved thinking, memory and movement. While it affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans, it remains widely underdiagnosed because its symptoms are very much akin to the most commonly known Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The association recognized that many doctors are still not familiar with the disease.
Among the many symptoms of the disease are fluctuations in alertness and attention like daytime drowsiness, long naps during the day, disorganized speech, and long periods of staring into space according to the Mayo Clinic. During sleep, a person affected by the disease may have rapid eye movement that can cause him to physically act out his dreams. Depression happens sometime during the course of the illness. Finally, Lewy body dementia results to rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors.
Mrs. Williams said her husband experienced heightened levels of anxiety, delusions and impaired movement in the last year before his death. The symptoms of the disease were presenting themselves like a pinball machine, according to her. “You don’t know exactly what you’re looking at,” she said.
Mrs. Williams shared with ABC News details of a frightening incident where the late actor was lingering aimlessly by the sink of their shower room. She felt something was not right so she opened the door and she saw him with blood. His towel was soaked in blood while he continuously dabbed his head with it. “And I just screamed, ‘Robin, what happened? What did you do?’ And he pointed to the door and I said, ‘Did you hit your head?’ And he nodded,” Mrs. Williams recalled.
When the autopsy revealed the disease, she said she tried to know much about it. It dawned onto her that he did not hit his head on the door at the time. “I know that’s right. And I know he was angry with himself and he was fed up with this and he was expressing anger,” she said.
In the weeks that led to his death, Mrs. Williams said her husband was lucid at one minute before he would say something that did not match. He tried to keep it together as best as he could, but to no avail.
Now that the actor is no longer with her, she could only describe him as a dream. “It’s the best love I ever dreamed of. You know, it’s what I always dreamed of love would be … really based on just honor, love, respect,” she said.