Robin Williams suffered from dementia, a new biography says, according to Deadline.
The book, “Robin,” is written by Dave Itzkoff and details the final stages of the actor’s life, revealing how the illness impacted his emotions, physical health and memory to such an extent that he ultimately took his own life in 2014.
Robin Williams was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but a neuropathologist later determined that he was suffering from Lewy body dementia, the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s.
When Williams eventually took his life, many blamed depression and anxiety but his wife Susan Williams has always maintained that it was dementia that drove him to suicide, People reported.
Now Itzkoff is shedding light on the situation in his biography.
Makeup artist Cheri Minns noted how Robin Williams was “sobbing” in her arms at the end of every day while filming “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”
She suggested that the actor return to comedy to cope with his depression but according to the book, he was unable to.
“He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri. I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny,'” Minns said, per Deadline.
Things took a turn for the worse after Robin Williams’ short lived 2013 television show “The Crazy Ones,” flopped.
His co-star, Pam Dawber, who had joined the show in a bid to raise ratings, recalled how she had witnessed a massive change in Robin Williams’ demeanor during those days,
“I would come home and say to my husband, ‘Something is wrong. He’s flat. He’s lost the spark. I don’t know what it is,’ ” Dawber said in the book, according to Deadline.
Susan Williams described her husband’s affliction in an editorial piece in the journal Neurology.
“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it,” she wrote. “Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of, or understand? Neither he, nor anyone could stop it—no amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.”
Previous studies have noted an increased risk of suicide among people diagnosed with dementia, especially if the patient already suffers from symptoms of depression and anxiety, Medscape Medical New reported.
Professor Brian Draper from the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, told the news outlet that the medical world needed to “start conceptualizing dementia in a similar way to cancer,” adding that both illnesses were “severe and life-threatening.”
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