Michael J Fox 'stunned' to learn friend Robin Williams had Parkinson's disease

The Back to the Future actor, who himself has the illness, tweeted his shock at Williams' diagnosis

Michael J Fox has spoken of his shock at learning that his friend, the late comedian Robin Williams, had been suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease.

Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, revealed the diagnosis in a statement yesterday (14 August).

“Robin's sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with depression and anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson's disease which he was not yet ready to share publicly,” she said.

The Back to the Future actor told his followers on Twitter he was “stunned” to learn the news.

Fox, who was diagnosed with the incurable condition in 1991, went on to say that he was “pretty sure” that Williams’ support and fundraising for his Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research far predated the comedian’s own prognosis.

Sufferers of Parkinson’s disease often experience tremors, slowed movement and stiffened, inflexible muscles as the brain becomes progressively damaged over the years.

Those with Parkinson’s may also experience other physical and psychological symptoms, including depression, insomnia, loss of a sense of smell and loss of memory.

Williams, 63, was found dead on Monday after hanging himself at his home in Tiburon, California.

His daughter, Zelda Williams, talked of the last day they spent together on his recent birthday, when she and her brothers shared “gifts and laughter”.

Robin Williams and his wife Susan Schneider at the premiere of Robin Williams and his wife Susan Schneider at the premiere of "Old Dogs" in Los Angeles on 9 November 2009 “He was always warm, even in his darkest moments,” the 25-year-old said.

“While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there's minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions.”

Barack Obama, Prince Charles, Steven Spielberg and countless actors who worked with Williams in his decades-long career were among those who shared their memories of the comedian in an unprecedented outpouring of tributes.

READ MORE: ZELDA'S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER IS ALSO MOST MOVING
ROBIN WILLIAMS' CHILDREN STRUGGLE TO UNDERSTAND FATHER'S SUICIDE
PRESIDENT OBAMA LEADS ROBIN WILLIAMS TRIBUTES
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine