August 14, 2014 5:45 pm
Updated: August 14, 2014 6:47 pm

Michael J. Fox ‘stunned’ to learn Robin Williams had Parkinson’s

WATCH: The wife of Robin Williams said in a statement released Thursday, that the actor was struggling with depression, anxiety and early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he was found dead earlier this week. Paola Samuel reports.

TORONTO — Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he took his life earlier this week.

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The actor and comedian died Aug. 11 of a suspected suicide inside his California home. He was 63.

“Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly,” revealed Williams’ wife Susan Schneider.

“It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”

FACT FILE: What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. There is no cure but symptoms can be managed.

Parkinson’s is not fatal but can reduce life expectancy.

Canadian actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with the disease in 1992 and went public in 1998. His eponymous foundation has raised millions for Parkinson’s research.

Hours after Schneider’s revelation, Fox posted a message on Twitter.

Schneider’s statement also paid tribute to her late husband for spending so much of his life helping others.

“Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid,” she said.

“Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.”

READ MORE: New tribute from Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda

Williams and Schneider were married in October 2011. It was the actor’s third marriage.

According to police, Schneider last saw her husband at about 10:30 pm Sunday. Late that Saturday afternoon, the couple had attended an art exhibit for Mark Jaeger at a gallery near their home.

She was not home when Williams is believed to have taken his life.

Schneider’s statement comes days after Williams’ daughter Zelda posted her own heartfelt tribute.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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