"It was perfect—like one long date," his wife said.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of suicide that may be distressing to readers.
It's hard to believe it's been nearly a decade since the world lost the incomparable Robin Williams. The beloved actor and comedian died by suicide in August 2014 at age 63 after suffering from Lewy body dementia. His death shocked the world and his adoring fans and left his family in a world of unimaginable pain.
The actor's widow Susan Schneider opened up about the final days of her husband as well as the initial days of their courtship. She spoke to the Guardian in 2021 revealing that they met in late 2007 when she happened to stop in at a local Apple store. “I walked in and saw this man and I thought, ‘I think that’s Robin Williams.’ Then on my way out I happened to look at him again and he was smiling at me and something inside me said, ‘Oh, just go over and say hi.’ He was wearing a camouflage print so I said, ‘How’s that camo working out for you?’ And he said, ‘Not too good – you found me.’” The couple married four years later. This was the Mrs. Doubtfire actor's third marriage and Susan's second.
“Robin and I loved to go to museums together. He was a big history buff, so he would bring the history and I would bring the art side and we would double our fun. People tend to assume that the guy he was on stage was the guy he was at home, and let me make it clear, I would never marry somebody like that,” the 59-year-old artist shared.
Before his death in 2014, the actor decided to surprise his wife with a sweet gesture a few weeks prior. "I had to run an errand at that very same Apple store," Susan told USA TODAY. "Out of the blue, he came walking in with flowers and surprised me. I looked at him like, 'Oh, my God, what are you doing?' And he said, 'This is where it all began.'"
But things began taking a turn for the worse slowly over time. Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) which causes anxiety, delusions, and impaired movement started taking a toll on the actor in the last year before his death. Susan described his condition as a "terrorist inside my husband's brain."
"Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating?" she wrote in Neurology. "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," she added.
The artist and brain health advocate who serves as vice chair of the American Brain Foundation recalled their last day together. "We did all the things we love on Saturday and into the evening, it was perfect—like one long date. By the end of Sunday, I was feeling that he was getting better. When we retired for sleep, in our customary way, my husband said to me, 'Goodnight, my love,' and waited for my familiar reply, 'Goodnight, my love.'" The comedian's widow continued, "His words still echo through my heart today. Monday, August 11 (2014), Robin was gone." The grieving widow was determined to raise awareness about LBD so that other lives may be saved.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jason Merritt