On Tuesday (Nov. 3), People published its in-depth sit-down with Susan Williams, who explains that the actor and comedian was suffering from a brain disease called Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia (or Dementia with Lewy bodies) in the year before his tragic death.
“It’s not depression that killed Robin,” Susan tells People in its latest issue. “Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one.”
As People notes, Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia is frequently misdiagnosed and is the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s. Symptoms include fluctuations in mental status, hallucinations and impaired motor function.
Susan goes into detail about the months that lead to Robin’s suicide. On top of his battle with Parkinson’s, he suffered from anxiety attacks, a “miscalculation” with a door and muscle rigidity. Doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong until an autopsy was performed.
“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.”
Susan also spoke with Good Morning America in an interview that aired Tuesday. She says Robin became increasingly paranoid and doctors had recommended that the actor check into a facility for neurocognitive testing during the week before his death.
“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.”
When asked if Robin’s death could be seen as a way of him taking control of his symptoms, Susan says it’s a possibility.
“Believe me, I’ve thought about this. Of what was going on in his mind, what made him ultimately commit, you know, to do that act. And I think he was just saying no. And I don’t blame him one bit.”
Head to People for more of Susan Williams’ interview.
Watch a clip of her GMA appearance, below.