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Robin Williams had Parkinson’s disease, wife says

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSFILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63.  (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

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LOS ANGELES » Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease and was sober at the time of his apparent suicide, his wife said Thursday.

In a statement, Susan Schneider said that Williams, 63, was struggling with depression, anxiety and the Parkinson’s diagnosis when he was found dead Monday. Authorities said the actor-comedian’s death was suicide.

Schneider did not offer details on when Williams had been diagnosed or his symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a small tremor in one hand. The disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

Actor Michael J. Fox, who has long had the disease, is known for his efforts to fund research into it.

"Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly," Schneider said.

Williams had publicly acknowledged periodic struggles with substance abuse. Recently, depression prompted him to enter rehab.

Schneider said that those who loved Williams are taking solace in the outpouring of affection and admiration for him.

"It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid," she said in her statement.

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