Today would have been Robin Williams‘ 68th birthday.
Ahead of the fifth anniversary of his death, Williams’ son Zak opened up to Good Morning Britain about watching his late father struggle with mental health.
“It was sad to see someone who was suffering so. As a family member and a child, you want to do everything you can to help soothe and ease what seemed to be intense personal pain,” he said of the comedian, who died by suicide in August 2014 at the age of 63.
”And there were times where it felt like there was helplessness from my part, I didn’t know what I could do, or how I could be of the best support,” added the mental-health advocate, entrepreneur and Angel investor.
The Oscar winner was particularly private about his personal struggles, never really letting his family know the pain he was going through.
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“Amongst those people who were close to him, we all loved him so and found it difficult because he wasn’t always open to sharing his personal pain and struggle,” Zak said. “And we noticed that over a period of time.”
Zak, who welcomed son Mickey with fiancée Olivia June in May, revealed that the most difficult part was seeing his father continue to selflessly perform for others.
“It was heartbreaking because he still went out and wanted to share his feelings of laughter and humor with the world,” Zak said. “And while he was suffering and struggling, he still went out and performed. I admire him and loved him so, and having to share him was hard.”
Zak’s sister Zelda Williams has been open on social media about how she has dealt with losing their famous father.
“Everyone who has dealt with loss knows the pain of certain anniversaries, moments full of memory that come round like clockwork and usurp all others, no matter how hard you may try to prepare for or avoid them,” she captioned a father-daughter photo in July 2018, two days before what would have been Robin’s 67th birthday.
“If you’d like to do something in his honor, volunteer at your local homeless shelter, or look up how to make homeless aid backpacks. Give one in his name. He’d have loved that,” the actress said, tagging a few organizations: the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Reeve Foundation.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.