Robin Williams’ widow says it wasn’t depression that killed her husband

Susan Williams has opened up about Robin’s tragic suicide

Robin and Susan Williams

by Anna Lewis |
Published on

Robin Williams’ widow has revealed that “it wasn’t depression” that killed him.

Susan Williams spoke about Robin’s tragic suicide in 2014; saying it was a form of dementia that led to the actor’s decision to take his own life.


"It was not depression that killed Robin," she told People. "Depression was one of let's call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one."

The Patch Adams star had been suffering from an often-misdiagnosed form of dementia, called Lewy Body Dementia, which can cause hallucinations, impairment of motor function and fluctuation of mental status.

"They present themselves like a pinball machine," Susan continued. "You don't know exactly what you're looking at."

It wasn't until his autopsy that doctors were able to officially diagnose the disease.


"I know now the doctors, the whole team was doing exactly the right things. It's just that this disease was faster than us and bigger than us. We would have gotten there eventually," she explained.

Susan also revealed that the 63 year old was suffering from crippling anxiety attacks and muscle rigidity in the months leading up to his death, adding: "I've spent 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'.

"This was a very unique case and I pray to God that it will shed some light on Lewy Bodies for the millions of people and their loved ones who are suffering with it. Because we didn't know. He didn't know."


Robin Williams: 10 funniest quotes and best moments

On working on the set of Mrs Doubtfire1 of 10

On working on the set of Mrs Doubtfire

“One time in makeup as Mrs Doubtfire, I walked into a sex shop in San Francisco and tried to buy a double-headed dildo. Just because. Why not? And the guy was about to sell it to me until he realised it was me – Robin Williams – not an older Scottish woman coming in to look for a very large dildo and a jar of lube. He just laughed and said, "What are you doing here?" and I left. Did I make the purchase? No.* Did I walk away with a really good story? *Yes.”

u201cI think I wore it better!u201d2 of 10

“I think I wore it better!”

On Kim Kardashian’s Doubtfire-esque Met Gala 2013 Dress

On heaven3 of 10

On heaven

When asked what he’d like to hear God say to him if he got to heaven, Williams told Inside Actor's Studio: “There’s seating near the front. The concert begins at 5:00. It’ll be Mozart, Elvis, and anyone of your choosing. Or if Heaven exists, it would be nice to know there’s laughter. That would be a great thing, to hear God go, ‘Two Jews walk into a bar…’”

On divorce4 of 10

On divorce

“Ah yes, divorce… from the Latin word meaning ‘to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet’.”

On his two ex-wives5 of 10

On his two ex-wives

“I get on fabulously with my exes – now we’re not together any more. And they always appreciated my body hair, which was a plus, obviously.”

On the experimental heart surgery that saw him fitted with a cowu2019s heart valve6 of 10

On the experimental heart surgery that saw him fitted with a cow’s heart valve

“I can go to the toilet standing up now, which is nice, but I can’t eat meat, because I’ve become one of them, so it would be cannibalism.”

On Aladdin7 of 10

On Aladdin

Explaining that the role of the Genie was originally meant to be very small, Williams said: “Initially they came in and I was just doing the scripted lines and I asked 'Do you mind if I try something?' and then 18 hours of recording later, they had the Genie. I just started playing, and they said, ‘Just go with it, go with it, go with it.’ So I improvised the character. I think that in the end, there were something like 40 different voices that I did for that role.” So much of the Genie’s part was improvised that the Academy Awards rejected the film’s bid for the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ nomination.

On biology8 of 10

On biology

“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”

On being a big kid9 of 10

On being a big kid

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

On life10 of 10

On life

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

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