Robin Williams in early stage of Parkinson's, widow says - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Robin Williams in early stage of Parkinson's, widow says

Robin Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, said Thursday the actor and comic was in the early stage of Parkinson's disease before he took his own life. (Source: Spc. 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/MGN) Robin Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, said Thursday the actor and comic was in the early stage of Parkinson's disease before he took his own life. (Source: Spc. 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/MGN)

(RNN) - Robin Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, said Thursday the actor and comic was in the early stage of Parkinson's disease before he took his own life.

In her statement, she said Williams had been sober but bravely struggled with depression and anxiety as well as the Parkinson's, 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," Schneider said.

Williams, 63, was found dead in his home Monday by his assistant. In a news conference Tuesday, Lt. Keith Boyd of the Marin County, CA, Sheriff's Department announced preliminary investigation showed the actor committed suicide by hanging himself.

"Robin spent so much of his life helping others," Schneider said. "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."

Williams fared equally well in dramatic and comedic roles for more than three decades. He made people scream with laughter through his breakout role in Mork & Mindy, films like Mrs. Doubtfire and his standup comedy.

He also brought fans to tears through his parts in The World According to Garp and Good Will Hunting - the latter of which earned him an Academy Award.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children, Zelda, Cody and Zachary.

Parkinson's disease is incurable and affects the brain and nervous system, worsening over time. Common symptoms of people afflicted with it are tremors in the hands, loss of mobility in the arms, an inability to show facial expressions and slurred speech.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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