Robin Williams' misdiagnosis revealed only after his death

Written by Henrik Rothen

Aug.31 - 2023 3:26 PM CET

Robin Williams' misdiagnosis revealed only after his death.

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Robin Williams, the beloved Hollywood actor, was misdiagnosed with Parkinson's disease two years before his tragic death in 2014 at the age of 63. His son, Zak Williams, recently spoke out about the misdiagnosis, revealing that the correct diagnosis was only made posthumously.

The Real Diagnosis

An autopsy showed that Robin Williams was actually suffering from undiagnosed Lewy body dementia (LBD), a condition that was causing symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.

According to Mayo Clinic, LBD is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer's and involves the development of protein deposits called Lewy bodies in nerve cells in the brain.

These deposits affect areas of the brain responsible for thinking, memory, and movement. Currently, there is no cure for this aggressive neurological disease

Zak Williams spoke candidly about his father's struggle with the disease on Max Lugavere's The Genius Life podcast in 2021. He mentioned that Robin Williams was "very uncomfortable" and "frustrated" during his final years.

Zak noted that the symptoms his father was experiencing did not align with typical Parkinson's symptoms, which added to his discomfort and frustration. He also suggested that the incorrect medication might have worsened his father's condition.

Susan Schneider, Robin Williams' widow, had previously written an essay titled 'The terrorist inside my husband's brain' for the scientific journal, Neurology. In the essay, she described how the condition had severely damaged neurons and neurotransmitters in his brain, likening it to "chemical warfare."

Robin Williams was an Oscar-winning actor known for his iconic roles in films like Mrs. Doubtfire.

His misdiagnosis and the subsequent incorrect treatment had a significant impact on his mental health and ability to perform, according to his son. The revelation of the correct diagnosis after his death has shed new light on the challenges he faced in his final years.

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