• The last days of Robin Williams

    “The media couldn’t know the truth if Robin himself didn’t know. Ted Turner, the great industrialist and media magnet, has Lewy body dementia. He had the experience of going around telling people: this is what’s gonna be happening to me. He’s in the late stages of it now and it’s very sad for the family. But on some level, it’s manageable if you know what the thing is. Robin never had that. Only he and his wife had the sense that something was deeply wrong but she didn’t even get the name of it until the autopsy.”

    At the time of his suicide, Williams had received a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. He was told the condition was early and mild. But he knew that could not account for the symptoms he was experiencing. He asked his doctor, “Do I have Alzheimer’s? Do I have dementia? Am I schizophrenic?”

    “Lewy body dementia is a devastating illness,” explains Prof Bruce Miller, director of Memory and Ageing Centre at the University of California, San Francisco and one of the scientific contributors to Robin’s Wish. “It’s a killer. It’s fast. It’s progressive. Looking at how Robin’s brain had been affected I realised that this was about as devastating a form of Lewy body dementia as I had ever seen. Almost no area was left unaffected. It really amazed me that Robin could walk or move at all.”