Despite the tragic passing of comedian Robin Williams more than seven years ago, his spirit and memory live on in our memories.

Williams’s death shocked the entire world, and many people thought that his choice to take his own life was motivated by drug use and depression.

But as it turns out, Robin Williams’ tragic death was caused by something completely different. Susan Schneider Williams, Robin’s widow, decided to come clean about what killed her spouse.

Flickr / John Mathew Smith


When legendary comedian Robin Williams passed away in 2014, the world lost one of the best comic minds. Robin was known for being an all-around funny guy, a family man, and a truly lovely person. Through his iconic roles in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and Good Morning Vietnam, he won the admiration of fans all over the globe.

People who knew him in person observed that he was equally amusing off-camera and that he could make the most of his talent to cheer up those who needed it the most.

Marriages and kids

The adored performer had three marriages and three children.

In June 1976, Williams first encountered Valeria Velardi. Williams was just a regular San Francisco server at the time and wasn’t particularly well-known.

“He was bartending. He had a French accent, offered me a drink, chatted me up, and was delightful,” Valeria said in 2018.

“He asked me for a ride home. He was speaking French and I was teasing him and we had a kiss. And I just knew I was going to see him again”.

The pair got married in 1978 and had a son named Zack in 1983.

Robin Williams and his wife Valerie Velardi circa 1984 in New York / Getty Images

Williams and Valeria split up in 1988. Marsha Garces, the actor’s son’s nanny, was the subject of rumors that the two were having an affair, but Valeria has since refuted this. That being said, Williams wed Marsha after the split.

She was pregnant when the pair exchanged vows in 1989.

Zelda (born in 1989) and Cody were Robin and Marsha’s joint children. (born in 1991). Sadly, Robin’s second marriage was likewise bound for failure. 2008 saw Marsha file for divorce, claiming irreconcilable differences.

Robin Williams & Susan Schneider

Then, Susan Schneider, Robin’s spiritual mate, entered his life three years after his second divorce. In the latter part of 2007, she first encountered the well-known comedian at a nearby Apple shop, where they had a brief exchange.

“I walked in and saw this man and I thought: ‘I think that’s Robin Williams.” Then, as I was leaving, I occurred to glance back at him and noticed that he was grinning at me. Susan had said, “Oh, just go over and say hi,” so I felt compelled to do so.

In 2011, they got married. The opulent resort Meadowood in California’s Napa Valley served as the venue for the wedding.


The simple wedding was attended by about 120 people, primarily family, close friends, and neighbors.

Susan and Robin had a clear vision of how they wanted to spend their special day. There were no notable celebrities there, and the event was a far cry from the glitz and glamour one might typically identify with celebrity weddings in Hollywood.

Susan and Robin wrote their promises as well. Since his mother and brother had already passed away by this time, Robin made sure they were remembered during the ceremony. The actor requested that the minister recite aloud the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

“The wedding day was very beautiful. They were very much in love and very quiet. Both Robin and Susan were very actively involved with the preparation of the ceremony,” the minister who married the lovebirds told Daily Mail in 2014.


Susan and Robin resided in San Francisco Bay’s upscale Sea Cliff district. The 7,170 square-foot home in the Mediterranean contemporary style had a stunning view of the water, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands.

Although it appeared that Robin and Susan were content and had everything from the outside, we now know that their relationship was put to the test as Robin battled his interior demons.

His professional success was also impacted by his declining health. Williams, who made his penultimate on-screen appearance in Night at the Museum 3 in 2014, struggled to memorize single lines. Robin, who was renowned for memorizing dozens of lines and giving outstanding performances, was perplexed as to why he was abruptly unable to learn basic lines.

Getty Images

“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it,” Schneider Williams explained in 2016.

“Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of or understand? Neither he nor anyone could stop it. No amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.”

Although Robin had his problems, Susan was always there for him, and they had a very honest relationship. Their friendship and love grew stronger with each passing year as they frequently talked about their achievements, setbacks, and greatest fears.

Unfortunately, Susan was missing key information and was unable to completely comprehend the reasons behind her soulmate’s difficulties. Although Susan was in many ways helpless, they were still able to enjoy some wonderful moments in Robin’s final months.


The struggling performer was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease just before he passed away, which raised more concerns, frustrations, and unsettling ideas in Robin’s mind.

Robin only had three years to survive, according to the doctors.

“What he was going through didn’t match one to one many Parkinson’s patient’s experiences. So, I think that was hard for him,” Robin Williams’ son Zak said in Max Lugavere’s “The Genius Life” podcast.

“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.”

Zachary Williams and Robin Williams / Getty Images

The full truth wouldn’t come to light until after his passing, and the world only received a glimpse of what Robin was facing. The coroner’s report was made public three months after the famous comedian passed away.

According to the story, Robin battled Lewy body dementia for a considerable amount of time before his passing in August 2014.

Robin’s widow decided to come out and inform the public about what killed her husband in her first interview since he passed away.


“Lewy body dementia killed Robin. It’s what took his life. Depression was a small piece of the pie of what was going on… really, what was overriding more than depression was anxiety. And the anxiety was huge,” she said.

The late performer must have endured hell during his final months of life, according to the actor’s doctors. One of the most severe instances of Lewy body dementia that doctors had ever seen was his.

TV Show Mork and Mindy. Actor Robin Williams and actress Pam Dawber.

“Lewy body dementia is a devastating illness. It’s a killer. It is fast, it’s progressive,” Dr. Bruce Miller, director of Memory and Aging at the University of California San Francisco told Today.

Susan was eventually able to fill in many blanks and comprehend why Robin behaved the way he did after finding out about her husband’s condition.

“I was relieved it had a name. Robin and I had gone through this experience together, really being chased by an invisible monster. And it was like whack-a-mole with the symptoms. I left there with the name of the disease, the thing that Robin and I had been searching for,” she said.


Cause of mortality for Robin Williams

At his home in Paradise Cay, California, on August 11, 2014, Robin Williams’ body was discovered. According to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, suffocation by hanging was the cause of death.

In a tearful interview in 2015, Susan described her final conversation with her spouse as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Robin intended to check into a facility for neurocognitive assessment a week before his passing.

Robin asked Susan if she would like a foot treatment the night before he passed away. Naturally unable to foresee what was about to occur, Susan turned down the offer.

She won’t soon forget his sad eyes and intense stare.

Then he departed. He repeatedly left and returned, saying, “Good night, my love,” to which Susan responded, “Good night, my love.”

Both his and her final remarks to each other were those.

Robin Williams at “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” / ImageDirect

Susan revealed in subsequent interviews that she has forgiven Robin and doesn’t hold Robin responsible for taking his life. She was aware that his remaining years were limited and that they would have been difficult.

She was by her husband’s side that terrible day as emergency personnel entered the home and attempted to save him.

“And I just wanted to see my husband. And I got to see him … and I got to pray with him. And I got to tell him, ‘I forgive you 50 billion percent, with all my heart. You’re the bravest man I’ve ever known.’ You know, we were living a nightmare,” Susan said.

Death of Robin Williams

However, we do know that Robin’s body was cremated at Monte’s Chapel of the Hills in San Anselmo. It is unknown if Robin’s family conducted a private funeral for him.

His ashes were dispersed over San Francisco Bay on August 21. The actor had loved the place where he had spent nearly 50 years of his life and felt most at ease.


A person taking their own life is always tragic. Even though I feel that people shouldn’t ever go that far, there are instances when I can understand why.

Regrettably, nobody was aware of the precise nature of Robin’s situation. In addition to being one of the all-time best actors and comedians, he was also a wonderful guy.

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