Out of respect to Robin Williams roughly a year after his untimely passing, I offer this tribute. Mr. Williams’ life and death are rather important to me, for multiple reasons, as we’ll see.
First off, here’s a nice video montage tribute, brief and very well done:
Second, for those who missed it last year, here’s my personal tribute and reaction to Mr, Williams’ death:
Third, important information has arisen over the last year, that may help explain Mr Williams’ passing. There has been an autopsy, and it found Lewy bodies in Mr Williams’ brain. Some in the media have oversimplified this finding, reporting that it means he had Lewy Body dementia. It’s not so simple in reality, as this link helps explain: Robin Williams and Lewy Body Dementia | Lewy Body Dementia Association,
In reality, Lewy bodies emerge in the brain in TWO conditions, both Lewy Body Dementia and dementia caused by Parkinson’s Disease. In addition, to say a person actually suffered from either illness requires more than any autopsy findings: it also requires clinical symptoms that may or may not have existed before Mr Williams’ death. Without active symptoms, either illness would have remained a future possibility, not a fact. In any case, as a clinician experienced with both illnesses, I can confidently offer this insight. Both illnesses offer a grim prognosis: unusually difficult to manage and a potentially rather ugly clinical course. It would come as no surprise to me that an informed person facing either diagnosis might consider suicide. I don’t endorse such a decision, but I certainly understand it. I can’t speak to Mr. Williams’ situation as I lack insight into his clinical status at the time of his death. I can offer information about Lewy Body Dementia, both often misdiagnosed and frequently badly mistreated in ways that make the symptoms far worse:
Lewy Who? | Lewy Body Dementia Association. – a brochure about LBD for the public.
We give an event much of its meaning with our response after the fact. Let’s help shape Robin’s death – its meaning anyway – regardless of the details we may never know, towards a greater understanding of this devastating disease. Fair enough?