He was “murdered” by his own mind. A technical self-killing doesn’t necessarily meet the definition of suicide. Something about voluntary intent. A distinct difference here, I think, due to the condition he suffered.
The neuropathologist’s diagnosis was: “diffuse Lewy body dementia.”
The comedian did not have Parkinson’s, he had not fallen off the wagon and he was not severely depressed. It was something even graver: He suffered from an incurable brain disease that occurs when proteins build up in the brain’s nerve cells, impairing its function. It begins with memory problems and physical stiffness and graduates to extreme personality changes, psychiatric symptoms and eventually death.
Lewy body is the second most common progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike Alzheimer’s, where sufferers have issues forming new memories, people with Lewy body dementia can form new memories but have a hard time retrieving them. It’s as if the very essence of Robin was still there — he just could no longer access it.
Anyone with experience with Parkinson’s, Lewy, PSP, ALS, or any similar condition knows the patient reaches that point where they lose control, either of the body, the mind, or both. How does one decide to do or not to do something (like a belt hanging) when the decision-making process is compromised? They don’t. They become a tortured prisoner to the degeneration.
And, yes, this is to excuse the behavior, which isn’t dictated by rationality. If you know, you know. If not, hope you can keep it that way.
I never knew this about Williams.