Comedian Robin Williams had health problems that would have killed him within three years if he had not ended his own life, his widow has said.
In her first interview since the actor died last August, Susan Williams said her husband was "disintegrating before my eyes" in the weeks before his death.
"We were living a nightmare".
He had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and had signs of a condition known as dementia with Lewy bodies.
The condition is caused by deposits of an abnormal protein called Lewy bodies inside brain cells, which disrupt the brain's normal functions.
It interferes with memory, judgement, comprehension, movement, concentration and visual perception, according to the NHS.
"If Robin was lucky, he would've had maybe three years left," Mrs Williams said. "And they would've been hard years. And there's a good chance he would've been locked up."
His physical symptoms included stiffness, slumping, a shuffling gait and "losing his ability in his voice", she said.
"It's one minute, totally lucid… And then five minutes later, he would say something that wasn't... it didn't match." The dementia had already taken hold. And it was a well kept secret but could not have been hidden from the public for much longer.
The actor was dealing with his problems as well as he could, she said, describing him as "the bravest man I've ever known".
"But the last month he could not. It was like the dam broke."
'I don't blame him'Asked whether her husband's suicide was his way of taking back control, she replied: "In my opinion, oh, yeah".
"I mean, there are many reasons. Believe me. I've thought about this. Of what was going on in his mind, what made him ultimately commit... you know, to do that act.
"And I think he was just saying, 'No.' And I don't blame him one bit. I don't blame him one bit."
Robin Williams was one of America's most popular comedians and actors, thanks to roles in films like Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting. He was 63. He wanted us all to remember him for the man he was, funny, playful, waggish and whimsical....not for what would happen to him over those final three years.
We understand now Robin... but we still miss you.