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Robin Williams Had Early Stage Parkinson's Disease, Wife Reveals
Date:8/15/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Robin Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease before he committed suicide this week, and he was sober at the time of his death, his wife announced Thursday afternoon.

In a prepared statement, Susan Schneider said her husband continued his decades-long battle against depression and anxiety, and he was in the early stages of Parkinson's when he was found dead at his suburban San Francisco home on Monday.

Schneider said her husband, the celebrated Oscar-winning actor and comedian, wasn't prepared to publicly share his Parkinson's diagnosis.

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

"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.

Besides depression and anxiety, Williams had struggled on and off with substance abuse over the years. And he underwent open heart surgery in 2009.

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said some research has suggested an association between a Parkinson's disease diagnosis and depression but the exact connection isn't clear.

"There are some studies that show that 30 to 40 percent of patients with Parkinson's disease may have significant depression," he said. Since both conditions affect the brain, it's hard to distinguish what is Parkinson's and what is truly depression, he added.

As far as Williams is concerned, Krakower said one can't blame his
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