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Williams' Widow: He Killed Himself Days Before Neuro Test

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2021 10:25 AM CST

(Newser) Robin's Wish, a documentary about Robin Williams' final days and his struggle with a neurodegenerative disorder, has been out since September on streaming platforms and on demand. Now, his widow is speaking more on why she wanted to make the film, including about how angry she was immediately following his 2014 death at the age of 63 as people speculated about why he'd killed himself. "There were so many misunderstandings out there about what had happened to him," Susan Schneider Williams tells the Guardian in an interview, explaining she herself didn't find out until after his autopsy that he'd been stricken with Lewy body dementia, which causes a progressive decline in cognitive abilities. "I didn't even know what Lewy bodies were, but I said: 'No, I'm not surprised,'" she says. "The fact that something had infiltrated every part of my husband's brain? That made perfect sense."

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Schneider Williams details the "incredibly confusing" symptoms that Williams had as his disease progressed, including insomnia, stomach pains, and anxiety. "It was very out of character for Robin to be so paranoid," she says. She also reveals he was set to go to a neurocognitive testing site, but he killed himself a week before the appointment. "I think he thought: 'I'm going to get locked up and never come out,'" she says. What bothered her most of all were the rumors that started flying after he died, especially whispers that he was an alcoholic. "It infuriated me when the media said he'd been drinking, because I know there are recovering addicts out there who looked up to him, people dealing with depression who looked up to him, and they deserve to know the truth," Schneider Williams says. More from her here, including how she met Williams in an Apple Store in 2007 and the very funny, flirtatious first words to each other that ensued. (Read more Robin Williams stories.)

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