Gone but never forgotten. Zachary “Zak” Williams is remembering his late father, Robin Williams, the way he feels his father would want him to. Zak, 39, Robin’s oldest son, posted a touching tribute to his dad on Instagram on July 21, what would have been the actor’s 71st birthday.
Keeping his Father’s Memory Alive and Well
“Happy 71st Birthday Dad! I’ll be remembering you today as you would want to be remembered, in spandex. Miss you and love you always,” he captioned a throwback photo of his father in his cycling gear, holding a bright yellow bike. The comment section proved that he’s not the only one who misses the “Mrs. Doubtfire” actor, as everyone showered the post with tons of love and support. Many of the comments were red hearts, some said “thinking of you and your family today,” and others talked about how much he is missed and will never be forgotten.
“We all miss your laughter and the smile that lights up a room.”
“My favorite actor of all time.”
“I just wanna watch videos of him over and over again! The actors studio interview gets me every single time. Tears coming down my face with laughter.”
“Your dad was a gift to us all. Thank you for sharing.”
“I will always remember when he made fun of me going to the restroom during his show.”
“I miss how bad my cheeks hurt after attending his show with my dad. Best. Memory. Ever.”
Celebrating his Life and Memory
Last year on August 11, the anniversary of his father’s death, Zak posted a photo of his dad captioned, “Dad, I will be celebrating your memory today. Love you forever.” He also posted a beautiful tribute to his dad on his 70th birthday last year. “Dad, on what would have been 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 post read.
An Amazing Career that Spanned Nearly Four Decades
Known for always making everyone laugh, Robin had a nearly 40-year acting career, and was known and loved by all ages. His IMDb page is filled with so many popular and well-known movies, making it hard to think there could be any age movie-goer that hasn’t see a movie he’s starred in. Some of his widely known films include, “Night at the Museum,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Jumaji,” “Hook,” “The Birdcage,” “Good Will Hunting,” and let’s not forget about the voice of the Genie in “Aladdin.”
The Struggles He Dealt with During His Final Years
Robin died by suicide at the age of 63. Before his death, he was incorrectly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. An autopsy revealed that he suffered from another subtype of dementia called Lewy Body Dementia, which is a type of brain disease that affects thinking, movement control and memory. Last year on his birthday, Zak discussed the “frustration” his father felt in his final years during an episode of “The Genius Life” podcast, per People. “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,” he said. “There were issues associated with how he felt and also from a neurological perspective he didn’t feel great.” The medications Robin were talking were difficult on both his body and mind, according to Zak. “I couldn’t help but feel beyond empathy. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated for him,” he explained. “It can be really isolating even when you’re with family and loved ones.”
Zak opened up about his own mental health struggles following his father’s suicide. “I was heavily drinking to manage my mental health where it created very harmful issues,” he said. “I was experiencing some psychosis and when I spoke with a psychiatrist I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Zak later went on to do mental health advocacy work, and that helped him through his own struggles.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.