It starts off as a small tremble of the hand, and then it gradually progresses into an uncomfortable stiffness of the muscles. It’s a disease that can’t be cured, affecting your posture, speech, and ability to move.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that makes a person feel slower than usual. According to Mayo Clinic, the disease is the result of the loss of “neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine…[causing] abnormal brain activity.”
Symptoms typically start on one side of the body as the pain worsens over time. Most victims of this disease experience a decrease in facial expressions and mobile skills including walking, writing, arm swinging, blinking, and smiling.
For one deceased Hollywood actor, Parkinson’s was more than likely a difficult disease to face—especially in the case of 63-year-old comedian Robin Williams, who took his own life late Sunday 10th.
According to Williams’ wife Susan Schneider, her husband was suffering from depression and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, which “he was not yet ready to share publicly."
Schneider says that he was admitted into a rehab facility in July for medical treatment, but the recent awareness of his health burdened the actor even more.
Some of Williams’ most renowned movie roles include "Jumanji" (1995), "Good Will Hunting" (1997), and "RV" (2006).
Yet, nothing comes close to his 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which he intelligently tricks his ex-wife into seeing his children by portraying a female nanny.
Even as he aged, Williams continued to do stand-up comedy and on-camera acting. Within the last year, Williams starred in the CBS sitcom “The Crazy Ones” and landed roles in more than three upcoming films.
It’s unknown if the disease inhibited Williams from performing.
Ironically, Williams also dedicated his time to raising funds and awareness for Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s disease research foundation. Fox, who also battles with Parkinson’s disease, said that he was unaware of Williams’ condition.
Actor and fellow friend, Rob Schneider, 50, recently tweeted what he believed led to Williams’ death:
‘Now that we can talk about it #Robin Williams was on a drug treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s. One of the side effects is suicide.’
Some of the actor’s closest colleagues assume that a combination of prescribed drugs “contributed to his mental state deteriorating” and intensified Williams’ receptiveness to suicidal thoughts.
However, neurologists say that depression is not unlikely to be associated with the illness. In fact, some experts suspect that depression is one of the very first signs of Parkinson’s.
Schneider hopes that her husband’s fans will remember him not by his most recent shortcomings, but by his compassionate nature.
“His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles,” she told CNN News.
One thing is for certain--no one will ever be able to come close to portraying a man-turned-drag queen like the hilarious Robin Williams.
He will forever be remembered as one of the most lively and iconic comedians of our time.