Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Widow Says Robin Williams Was Suffering From Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

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.

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.

“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.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.