Robin Williams is gone but will never be forgotten.
As you no doubt remember, the Dead Poets Society star who tragically died by suicide on August 11, 2014. He was 63 years old.
Related: Mrs. Doubtfire Actress Recalls How Robin Helped Her Battle Anxiety & Depression
On Wednesday, what would have been the comedian’s 70th birthday, his son Zak took to Instagram to share a message to his late father. Uploading a black-and-white photo of the performer (below), Zak emotionally reflected:
“Dad, on what would be your 70th birthday, I would want you to know that your incredible spirit lives within us. Our family will be celebrating you and your memory today. We miss you and love you always!”
The mental health advocate opened up further about his father’s death in a new episode of The Genius Life podcast, explaining that the Good Will Hunting star felt a great deal of “frustration” ahead of his passing.
Much of this was due to the fact Robin was incorrectly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It took an autopsy report after the standup’s death to reveal he had been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia, the second most common brain disease following Alzheimer’s. On his father’s declining health, Zak shared:
“What he was going through didn’t match one to one [with what] many Parkinson’s patients experience. So, I think that was hard for him.”
The 38-year-old recalled his father being “very uncomfortable” the last year of his life, adding:
“There were issues associated with how he felt and also from a neurological perspective he didn’t feel great.”
While the Oscar winner was on medications to treat the incorrect disease, his son admitted they were “really hard on the mind and the body,” elaborating:
“[The drugs to treat Parkinson’s are] no joke. They put you through it.”
Ugh. Given Robin’s health was already going downhill rapidly — even leading him to react strongly to shocking doctor’s orders — it became “hard” for his son to see his dad suffer. Unfortunately, despite these treatments, the actor died two years after he was misdiagnosed, and it was the many unresolved medical questions that lingered within the family that Zak believes “might have exacerbated the situation.” Whoa…
Related: This Robin Williams Story Might Just Make You Cry!
On those final years, Zak, the comedian’s oldest child of three, explained:
“It felt a lot longer than it actually was because it was a period for him of intense searching and frustration.”
It was also quite lonely, he continued:
“It can be really isolating even when you’re with family and loved ones.”
Just as the Disney icon’s death rattled the world, it left a profound impact on his loved ones’ lives. Zak was even diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he turned to alcohol to cope with. Thankfully, he found support in a 12-step program for addiction recovery and group therapy, helping him to regain control of his life. He is now the proud CEO of Prepare Your Mind, a wellness and anxiety-alleviating food product.
Zelda Williams has had her own issues since her father’s passing, some of which are all too public. On Thursday morning she shared:
“Thanks to everyone who sent thoughtful things on Poppo’s bday. Celebrated him in my own way yesterday, grateful for the space to do so. It’s gotten a little less strange over the years, and I’ve gotten a bit less scared of being me in the face of it. All things in time I guess…”
Less strange, maybe. But that hasn’t completely gone away either. She also shared a message from someone with an unhealthy relationship to her because of her father. Speaking on the expectations some fans have on her, she wrote:
“I’ve started pursuing research on it. I have a theory that parasocial relationships can be inherited, especially in tragedy. It gets warped though, because the expectation that a different person/personality could fill the same role/hole left behind leads to disappointment.”
“So the fact I wake up everyday and am not Dad is already a disappointment for folks I inherited, but the added bonus that I openly do not want to fill his role for others could seen as bold-faced rebellion against his ‘legacy’ as opposed to just my independent existence.”
Oof, that’s upsetting. Just let the girl live, y’all! Finally she once again took a break from social media, posting:
Anywho I’m gonna go back to ignoring this space for a bit. Gets predictably weird this time of year. As my own womb evacuation anniversary is in nine days, I have one birthday wish for you all: pic.twitter.com/mMYFvQu7k4
— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) July 22, 2021
Thinking of the Williams family and all those mourning Robin’s death this week and as his death anniversary approaches. May he continue to rest in peace…
[Image via Zak Pym Williams/Instagram & FayesVision/WENN]