"Laughter was incredibly important to him," says his daughter, Zelda Rae Williams.
On August 11, 2014, the world lost a gem. Robin Williams, who had the gift to make anyone smile with his sheer charm, talent, and joy, ended his life at 63 after a hard battle with depression. Before his death, he struggled for a long time due to his health. Initially, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease but later the autopsy revealed that what he had was much worse. He had diffuse Lewy body disease (LBD), a degenerative condition that affects memory and makes physical movement difficult. It can cause dementia and hallucinations.
During the days leading to his death, the actor felt he lost his ability to make others laugh, a talent that came so naturally to him. He had the support of all his friends and family, but despite that, the actor was in a deep, dark hole from where he never could pull himself up.
Robin Williams. To think he knew he was losing control of his brilliant mind - must have been horrific. pic.twitter.com/ldoBPima7B— Grammy Nance-🐝kind (@RedRocky31) July 10, 2021
“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it,” his wife Susan Schneider was quoted as saying in the new biography of Williams, Robin by Dave Itzkoff, according to Vanity Fair. She described him as "a 747 airplane coming in with no landing gear" after he finished work on Night at the Museum.
Even though it has been nearly seven years since his death, the loss is something people from all over the world, including his friends and family, are still struggling to come to terms with.
A few days before his 70th birth anniversary, which fell on July 21, Twitter user Jeras Ikehorn took to the platform to ask his followers: "What celebrity death, in your lifetime, hit you the hardest?" While some people named Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, others named celebrities who had lost their lives unfairly early.
Robin Williams for me for several reasons, though the impact grew in significance as we realized my father was battling the same illness (Lewy Body) at the same time.— TW (@foreshadowboxer) July 13, 2021
But the one name that kept popping up was that of Williams', so much so that his name started trending on the platform, according to The Things. People shared images, gifs, and quotes by the late actor on the thread.
freaking robin williams dude.— phantom booger (@lolosoule) July 12, 2021
always had such a contagious smile and humor that lit up the universe
my heart aches for him and the pain he must’ve silently dealt with. RIP robin you beautiful soul pic.twitter.com/qzHBJnCrfZ
"I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that," the actor once said. Sadly this is what he did with his life, too. With movies like Dead Poets' Society, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, and Good Will Hunting, he made cinema-goers laugh, cry, and think at the same time. But he was hardly himself towards the end.
Probably the reason people resonate with Williams' death so much is that he hid his struggles behind his welcoming smile. He was a comedian who struggled with his health, both physically and mentally, and this is something that helped people realize that even if someone seems okay, there must be so much going on in their heads that they just don't want to talk about.
"A lot of people feel his absence," said his daughter, Zelda Rae Williams, per BBC. "The side of him that people know and love... is the characters that he had so much fun being," Zelda explained. "I do think that's what a lot of people will hold on to. That's not going anywhere. They knew a dad that he was proud of them knowing. Laughter was incredibly important to him."
Robin Williams. I cried for days.— Susan (@suzieqeue) July 13, 2021
The world will always miss you, Robin Williams.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Kevin Winter