The world has been left deeply saddened by the passing of Robin Williams, but in the wake of the Good Will Hunting actor’s death, fans have learned he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Michael J. Fox has struggled with the disease for many years and has dedicated much of his time to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises money for research. Upon learning that Williams had been secretly suffering from the disease, too, he shared his thoughts via Twitter.
Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace.
— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) August 14, 2014
On Thursday, Williams’ wife Susan Schneider revealed in a statement that he had been suffering from the disease.
“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film, or television, our troops on the frontlines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid,” she said.
“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,” she continued.
Fox has publicly struggled with the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system since 1991, but he is not the only celebrity to have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Other celebs include boxing champion Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash, Estelle Getty, Billy Connolly and Brian Grant.
Fox is one of many celebrities to pay tribute to the late actor, but the fact that so many people are mourning Williams’ death reiterates the fact that he was truly a great man.
If you suspect someone might be considering suicide, or you have struggled with those thoughts yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).