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Report: Robin Williams driven to suicide by Lewy body dementia

According to an exclusive report by TMZ, Robin Williams was suffering from Lewy body dementia, and the disease may have contributed to his decision to commit suicide earlier this year.

Here’s how the National Institutes of Health defines “dementia with Lewy bodies”:

The central features of DLB include progressive cognitive decline, “fluctuations” in alertness and attention, visual hallucinations, and parkinsonian motor symptoms, such as slowness of movement, difficulty walking, or rigidity.  People may also suffer from depression.  The symptoms of DLB are caused by the build-up of Lewy bodies – accumulated bits of alpha-synuclein protein — inside the nuclei of neurons in areas of the brain that control particular aspects of memory and motor control. 

Because Williams had battled depression, drug abuse and alcoholism — and had again checked into the Hazelden rehabilitation facility just weeks before his death — it was widely speculated that his depression led him to suicide. His publicist told the media Williams had been battling “severe depression” before his death.

Wrote TMZ:

Robin’s wife had told authorities shortly after his death he had been complaining about the meds and the way they made him feel.
Sources connected with the Williams family tell TMZ … Lewy Body Dementia was the “key factor” they believe drove him to kill himself. We’re told Robin’s doctors agree that the disease was the critical factor leading to his suicide.

Just this spring, the public learned the late Casey Kasem was suffering from Lewy body dementia after the Top 40 king went missing.