It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to state that the death of Robin Williams shocked the world. When it was reported that an iconic star who had made people burst out laughing with his comedic genius in romps such as Mrs. Doubtfire had taken his own life, the world could not process how such a thing could have happened with many colleagues and fans immediately taking to the internet to respond with heartfelt tributes.
Over the years, the Good Will Hunting actor had suffered from health problems due to an addiction struggle, but he managed to sober up after the death of his dear friend John Belushi as well as the birth of his son. In order to kick his problematic habits, Williams focused on his health by taking up cycling and went as far as to once claim that it saved his life.
Although he insisted that he never touched cocaine again, Williams struggled with alcoholism and checked himself into rehabilitation facilities multiple times. Before his tragic demise, it had been confirmed by people close to him that Williams had been suffering from waves of intense depression but his wife claimed that he had remained sober despite the fact that he checked himself into rehab in 2014.
That same year, Williams hanged himself and sent the world into mourning. In an article, Williams’ wife said that the legendary star had been struggling a lot. “Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it,” she recalled. “He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain.’” It was only after his death that it was discovered that he had an undiagnosed form of dementia called Lewy body disease.
Ranging from paranoia to memory loss and delusions, this condition induced a lot of things in Williams’ mind but the actor braved it all until he couldn’t. Over the years, many future comic talents were influenced by Williams’ work in films like Dead Poets Society and Good Morning, Vietnam. It was as much of a loss to them as it was for the fans who had gotten over tough times by finding comfort in his humour.
Even President Barack Obama released a statement to honour Robin Williams in his death and singled him out as an influential pioneer who had touched the lives of many. “He made us laugh. He made us cry,” the statement read. “He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most—from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets.”
Watch Robin Williams’ final interview below.