Robin Williams Had False Diagnosis But It Was Only Discovered After His Autopsy

The son of the beloved actor Robin Williams opened up about how his father’s Parkinson’s disease misdiagnosis wasn’t revealed until after his death.

As most will be aware, the star tragically took his own life back in 2014, aged just 64.

Two years before to his passing, the actor received a false diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, a neurological condition that results in unintentional or involuntary movements including shaking, stiffness, and problems with motor skills.

Later, an autopsy revealed that he had Lewy body dementia (LBD), which was gradually generating symptoms that appeared to tie in with Parkinson’s disease. 

LBD is the second most prevalent form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, who states: “Protein deposits called Lewy bodies develop in nerve cells in the brain. The protein deposits affect brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement.”

On Max Lugavere’s The Genius Life podcast in 2021, his son Zak spoke out about the neurological condition and his father’s incorrect medical diagnosis, claiming it left him feeling “very uncomfortable” and “frustrated” towards the end of his life. 

He revealed: “What he was going through didn’t match one-to-one [with] many Parkinson’s patients’ experiences. So, I think that was hard for him.”

He continued: “There was a focus issue that frustrated him, there were issues associated with how he felt, and also from a neurological perspective, he didn’t feel great. He was very uncomfortable”, adding that his misdiagnosis likely ‘exacerbated the situation’.

“They’re also really hard on the mind and the body,” he said of the medication he received, adding: “The diagnosis was different than the disease so I think it could be a situation where you’re taking stuff and experiencing purely the side effects of [the drug].”

He continued by explaining how his father’s inability to “perform his craft” as a result of the illness and incorrect diagnosis also had an adverse effect on his mental health.

“I don’t want to say it was a short period. It felt a lot longer than it actually was because it was a period for him of intense searching and frustration.

“I couldn’t help but feel beyond empathy. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated for him.

“It can be really isolating even when you’re with family and loved ones.”

Robin Williams will always be remembered for his incredible wit and extraordinary talent.

Rest in peace.

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