Robin Williams: My Tribute to His Untimely Death

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Robin Williams Person Giant BombOut 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:

Robin Williams Tribute | Omeleto.

Second, for those who missed it last year, here’s my personal tribute and reaction to Mr, Williams’ death:

Robin Williams and Me: The Killer Among Us.

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:

LBDA Clarifies Autopsy Report on Comedian, Robin Williams | Lewy Body Dementia Association.

Lewy Who? | Lewy Body Dementia Association. – a brochure about LBD for the public.

LBD Diagnostic Symptoms Checklist | Lewy Body Dementia Association.

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?


  1. Thanks for bringing this back into perspective. It is a shame his name has such a stigma following death, when before he was raised on such a pedestal. I hope his family can do their part to work out their differences. I am not familiar with Lewy body Dementia, but I can guarantee I will be reading up on it in the near future!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh Greg! You touched me with your courage in posting about your personal journey. Robin William’s unexpected death has and will no doubt, continue to haunt many of his fans (myself included). A month or so ago, i was watching a clip of him and after laughing, I became immediately dismayed when I remembered that he was no longer with us. The reason we feel bereft is that ‘laughter’ forms a bond or relationship with two or more people and crosses all barriers and we all felt like Robin was a part of our lives in the many times he has made us laugh.
    When we lived in New York for a few years, a friend of mine – a psychiatrist, mentioned that a friend she had studied with at university was treating Robin for manic depression. He would often be so high after a show and physiologically found it difficult to come down from the high and instead would plummet down to a depressive state – hence the treatment to help him maintain equilibrium.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post Greg. Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a complicated guy, it seems, with multiple issues. He offered us an awful lot, and for that I’m thankful, even as I mourn his suffering and loss. As for self-disclosure, it’s a work in progress over decades: that’s how long it took to get to this point. I avoided friends for years, merely to avoid even thinking about talking about it. Openness kills stigma, and thus helps eliminate much of the suffering involved. I appreciate your kindness and support – Greg

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  3. Robin Williams has been on my mind a lot lately, since seeing his wonderful performance in Dead Poets Society a few weeks back. In the movie, he played a professor, and his student died of suicide – the professor was blamed for it because he had encouraged the student to pursue acting, which his overly strict father hadn’t approved of. It was a painful irony to think that, in real life, the man playing that professor would actually die of suicide. Thank you for the insight on his passing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When you are healthy and active, dementia is one of the diseases that is very likely to reduce your life to becoming a human statue while being alive. The depression, whether related or unrelated is too complex a call to make.

    One thing is certain, depression is usually among the more creative and intelligent people. When such a person stops doing his or her thing it can be a mixed signal, but it indicates something non-the-less. Pills and tranquillisers do not always work, actual conversations where you actually listen are more effective.

    Everybody wants to feel important or appreciated. Dale Carnegie explained that really effectively…

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