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Robin Williams’ widow on late comedian: ‘My best friend was sinking’

An iconic Bay Area tunnel, commonly known as the Waldo Tunnel or Rainbow Tunnel, will be named after the late actor Robin Williams.

An iconic Bay Area tunnel, commonly known as the Waldo Tunnel or Rainbow Tunnel, will be named after the late actor Robin Williams.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Robin Williams’ widow says the couple was “living a nightmare” in the months leading up to his suicide as he battled symptoms from a progressive form of dementia.

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Susan Schneider Williams said her 63-year-old husband’s despair drove him to take his own life. She said his battle with Lewy body dementia took his life in August 2014, not depression.

Williams’ mind was disintegrating, she said.

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“He was keeping it together as best as he could, but that last month he could not. It was like the dam broke,” she said.

The symptoms started in November 2013, when he experienced gut pain, which turned into another symptom and eventually spiraled into series of ailments.

“It was like whack-a-mole, which symptom is it this month?” she said in the interview with ABC News’ Amy Robach.

She feared Williams was becoming a hypochondriac because they were chasing the symptoms and still had no answer to what was causing his troubles. He was battling anxiety, depression and paranoia, she said.

“We were living a nightmare,” she said

Then in May 2014, months before his suicide, Williams was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s. The symptoms worsened in the months after his diagnosis.

She found him July 24, 2014, dabbing his head with a blood-soaked towel. He had hit his head.

“My best friend was sinking,” she said.

Schneider Williams said she never thought the late actor was suicidal. He had been scheduled to undergo cognitive testing in the week leading up to his death. She believes he took control of his life.

“I think he was just saying, ‘No,’ and I don’t blame him one bit,” she said.

On the morning that Williams took his life, she had gone to work and asked his assistant to call her when he woke up. Later, his assistant texted her, saying he was not awake yet and asked what she should do.

Schneider Williams said she was screaming during the 20-minute car ride home. At home, she saw him and told him, “I forgive you with all of my heart.”

Schneider Williams reached a settlement in October with the late comedian’s children, ending a legal dispute over his estate and the couple’s Bay Area home.

The actor committed suicide at the home and left most of his estate to his children: Cody, 23; Zelda, 25; and Zachary, 31. The mother of the younger two is Williams’ second wife, Marsha Garces; Zachary Williams’ mother is the actor’s first wife, Valerie Velardi.

Williams ensured that his children receive any future income from his acting career, life insurance proceeds, a property in Napa, liquid assets and valuable pieces of personal belongings, according to court documents.

Williams’ estate is estimated at more than $100 million, Schneider Williams’ attorney said.

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