Michael J. Fox was taken aback by hearing the news that Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease before his tragic death earlier this week. Fox — who has fought the disease since 1991 — tweeted about the late Oscar winner on Thursday, Aug. 14.
"Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis," the 53-year-old wrote. "A true friend; I wish him peace."
Hours earlier, Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, revealed in a statement that the actor was struggling with "the early stages" of the disease. "Robin spent 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.
"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," she continued. "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."
Williams committed suicide at the age of 63 on Aug. 11. Fox, like so many other loved ones and fans, took to Twitter to pay his respects on hearing the news. "Famously kind, ferociously funny, a genius and a gentle soul," he wrote at the time. "What a loss. #RobinWilliams." (The actors both returned to TV last year, with Williams starring in the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones and Fox in NBC's The Michael J. Fox Show. Their shows were both cancelled after its first season.)