Susan Schneider, widow of esteemed actor Robin Williams, is speaking out about her husband's death more than one year after the fact. In her first interview since his August 2014 suicide Schneider shared what she believes lead her husband to commit suicide. While many presumed he was battling depression, his wife claims that was not the case.
According to an interview with People magazine Schneider revealed that her husband had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain disease called Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia. The disease, also known as Dementia with Lewy bodies, is often misdiagnosed and causes those suffering from it to vary in mental status. It can also cause hallucinations and impaired motor skills. The disease quickly took hold of Williams, 63 at the time of his death, according to his wife's account, leaving him anxious, delusional and unable to move like he once could. Schneider added that her husband was dealing with depression, but claims it was a "small" symptom of his disease.
"It was not depression that killed Robin. Depression was one of let's call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one," she said. "I've spend this last year trying to find out what killed Robin. To understand what we were fighting, what we were in the trenches fighting and one of the doctors said, 'Robin was very aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it,'" she said.
Williams' wife told People his symptoms progressively worsened in the months that lead up to his death. He was having more frequent, debilitating anxiety attacks among other things, and his doctors were struggling to provide a diagnosis. In fact, Schneider claims it was not until his autopsy was completed that physicians were able to pin point what exactly he had. Still, she says she doesn't blame his doctors for their misdiagnosis. Schneider claims the disease was simply "faster than us and bigger than us."
Celebrating your memory today. Love you and miss you madly you mensch! pic.twitter.com/LP3CxzJNTi
— Zak Williams (@zakwilliams) August 11, 2015
Although this is the first time Schneider has addressed her husband's death publicly, his children have spoken out several times. On the one-year anniversary of Williams' death his son Zak Williams made a rare appearance on social media to remember his father. The 32 year old tweeted that he and the rest of the family were "celebrating your memory," adding that he loved and missed him "madly." Zak's, siblings Zelda Williams and Cody Williams remained silent about the passing of their father.
Thanks for all the kind thoughts. Taking a break for a bit. Don't burn the place down while I'm gone!… https://t.co/NLj4IaFiUW
— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) July 21, 2015
Robin committed suicide Aug. 11, 2014. He was found inside his home hanging with a belt after reportedly slitting both wrists with a pocket knife. There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death. He left no suicide note.