The actor showed a puzzling pattern of behavior, which included personality changes, confusion, forgetfulness, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and problems with movement.
From starring in Mrs. Doubtfire and Flubber to playing Genie in Aladdin, Robin Williams' ability to make us laugh was truly a rare one. And it didn't go unnoticed as he was celebrated for his smiling countenance. However, behind that light-hearted exterior was a man struggling to contain his inner demons. Despite that, he tried to do right by his wife, Susan Schneider Williams, by taking her out for a weekend where they could do everything they loved together... right before he was gone forever.
In the last year of his life, 63-year-old Robin had started to change. He was showing a puzzling pattern of behavior which included personality changes, confusion, forgetfulness, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and problems with movement. Those close to him knew that something was wrong and that he was not himself, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Despite going to various medical specialists, they still didn't have an answer... until the beloved actor's death.
"As you may know, my husband Robin Williams had the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease (LBD)," she wrote for Neurology. "He died from suicide in 2014 at the end of an intense, confusing, and relatively swift persecution at the hand of this disease's symptoms and pathology." But she hadn't expected it at all.
It was in the second weekend of August in 2014, Susan had started to believe that the "terrorist" in her husband's brain was finally on its way out. But it wasn't. And his death came as a true shock to her. "As the second weekend in August approached, it seemed his delusional looping was calming down," she wrote. "Maybe the switch in medications was working. We did all the things we love on Saturday day and into the evening, it was perfect—like one long date. By the end of Sunday, I was feeling that he was getting better."
Little did she know it was his final words that she'd hear before they went to bed that night. Susan wrote, "When we retired for sleep, in our customary way, my husband said to me, 'Goodnight, my love,' and waited for my familiar reply: 'Goodnight, my love.' His words still echo through my heart today. Monday, August 11, Robin was gone."
"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken," Susan shared in a statement, according to Radar Online. "On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."
She also mentioned how difficult it was for her to go about her routine without him. "After Robin left, time has never functioned the same for me. My search for meaning has replicated like an inescapable spring throughout nearly every aspect of my world, including the most mundane," Susan said. The pain she went through was "personal" and "heartbreaking", but she didn't want others who were suffering from the same condition to go through the same confusion, shock, and grief that she went through. She decided to open up about her experiences.
When Amy Robach from ABC News asked Susan if time had helped with her pain, she said, "[The pain] … just all of it will never go. It's the best love I ever dreamed of." But the grieving widow wasn't the only one feeling his loss. His daughter, Zelda Rae Williams, shared a special bond. Just days before his death, Robin posted on Instagram a dedication to his daughter, reported WGN-TV. He wrote, "...Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! Quarter of a century-old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!"
According to BBC, Zelda was called to speak about his death on NBC's Today Show and she said, "We don't have an explanation. There's no point questioning it... blaming yourself or the world. It happened. Anybody who has ever lost anyone works very hard to continue that memory in a positive way." And his family knew what he had meant to people globally as well.
"A lot of people feel his absence. The side of him that people know and love... is the characters that he had so much fun being," Zelda explained. "I do think that's what a lot of people will hold on to. That's not going anywhere. They knew a dad that he was proud of them knowing. Laughter was incredibly important to him."