Robin Williams Was in 'Early Stages of Parkinson's Disease,' Says Wife

Susan Schneider says he was "not yet ready to share publicly" his illness.

ByABC News
August 14, 2014, 2:26 PM

— -- Robin Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, has released a very personal statement today -- a few days after the comedian's apparent suicide.

Williams was found dead in his California home on Monday at the age of 63 and until now, statements from family and his rep have only said that the comedic legend was battling depression.

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This most recent statement from Schneider adds that the "Good Will Hunting" star was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.

Schneider said via the statement, “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. Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles."

She continued, "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. It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid."

Other celebrities have publicly battled Parkinson's, most notably Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson's is a movement disorder, which attacks the nerve cells in the brain, and results in trembling of the hands, arms, legs and face, eventually leading to slowness of movement, coordination problems and trouble walking or doing simple tasks. It is a progressive disease and only gets worse over time.