Speaking with ABC’s Amy Robach in an interview aired on Good Morning AmericaTuesday, Williams detailed the Boulevard actor’s worsening health issues leading up to his death.
She said her husband — already suffering from Parkinson’s disease symptoms and depression — was diagnosed post-mortem with Lewy body dementia, the most common type of neurodegenerative dementia next to Alzheimer’s disease. According to Mayo Clinic, Lewy can cause hallucinations, fluctuations in alertness and sleep difficulties; it is often misdiagnosed.
“I know we did everything we could,” Susan Williams said. “People in passing…would say to me, ‘God I wish I had done something more for him. If only I had called him. And I’m thinking, ‘No one could have done anything more for Robin.’ I just want everyone to know that. Everyone did the very best they could.”
Susan Williams said she spent the last year since her husband’s death learning more about Lewy body dementia, which is thought to have contributed to the actor’s decision to kill himself. “That was a small piece of the pie of what was going on…really, what was overriding that more than depression was anxiety,” she said. “And the anxiety was huge.”
Speaking with People magazine for its Nov. 16 issue, she clarified the reason why Robin Williams committed suicide. “It was not depression that killed Robin,” she said. “Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one.”
The late comic reportedly began showing symptoms of dementia last year including heightened anxiety, impaired motor skills and paranoia. “They present themselves like a pinball machine,” Susan Williams said. “You don’t know exactly what you’re looking at.”
Actor and comedian Robin Williams killed himself at 63-years-old on Aug. 11, 2015. At the time, it was widely assumed depression after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was the sole cause of his death, but new evidence provided by his widow suggesst that Lewy body dementia played a significant role.