THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 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 with 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, according to published reports.
"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.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that occurs when nerve cells in the brain don't produce enough of the brain chemical dopamine. Symptoms begin gradually and then progress. They include trembling of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk; slowed movement; and poor balance and coordination.
As symptoms worsen, people may have trouble walking and talking, and can experience problems such as depression and sleep difficulties.
There's no cure for Parkinson's disease, but there are
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