Goodbye to Robin Williams

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Robin Williams

The news of Robin Williams’ death shocked the world. Williams was an entertainer making us laugh every chance he got, from movies to standup and even dabbling in improvisation on the show, “Whose Line is it Anyways.” As a child I remember hearing his many voices in Aladdin and many faces in Mrs. Doubtfire.

As an adult I will remember being stunned by his death. As more news reports come out about how he died, the stories also shed light on his battle with Parkinson’s. Williams apparently suffered from the early stages of the neurodegenerative disorder, which may have added to his depression.

Michael J. Fox who was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 shared his story of depression when first dealing with the news. "My first reaction to it was to start drinking heavily…Once I did that it was then about a year of like a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it," Fox said. He also went on to say that Williams supported his foundation for Parkinson’s research. In a tweet he posted after learning about his death, Fox wrote: "Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace."

We have lost a gifted artist that suffered from depression and Parkinson’s. Although he was a true giver and lit up on the screen or performing on stage, he lived alone with these health demons, attacking his mind and his body. While his death will always remain a tragedy it is important to recognize the opportunity to learn about these health issues of depression and Parkinson’s. It is important that we not only educate ourselves but that we also let our loved ones know we are here to help them and that no one should suffer on their own. Knowledge is certainly power and support from friends and family can be just what the doctor ordered.