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Seven years ago, the world lost a comedic and cinematic icon when Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014, at the age of 63.
But the loss was more acute for Zak Williams, his eldest son.
The 38-year-old took to Twitter with a heartfelt post on Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of his father’s death.
“Dad, seven years ago today you passed on,” he wrote. “The joy and inspiration you brought to the world carries on in your legacy and in your family, friends, and fans you so loved. You lived to bring laughter and to help others. I will be celebrating your memory today. Love you forever.”
That emotional message comes just weeks after the Prepare Your Mind CEO posted an equally gut-wrenching photo on Instagram, celebrating what would have been the “Good Will Hunting” star’s 70th birthday on July 21.
“Dad, on what would be your 70th birthday, I would want you to know that your incredible spirit lives within us,” he wrote. “Our family will be celebrating you and your memory today. We miss you and love you always!”
Robin Williams took his own life in 2014 after suffering for months from what was initially diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease but an autopsy would prove to be Lewy body dementia.
Zak is the only child his father had with his first wife, Valerie Velardi. The late star is also the father of another son, Cody Williams, 29, and a daughter, Zelda Williams, 32, both with his second wife, Marsha Garces.
Since the Oscar-winning actor’s passing, Zak has dedicated his life to mental health advocacy. The co-founder of Prepare Your Mind supplements, he also supports nonprofits and speaks candidly about his father’s mental health struggles as well as his own.
“After my dad took his life in August of 2014, my anxiety went into overdrive,” he explains on the PYM website. “I found myself depressed, anxious, traumatized and unable to cope with daily life.”
Williams opened up earlier this year during an interview with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry on the duo’s Apple TV+ series, “The Me You Can’t See,” as well as “The Genius Life” podcast.
When discussing his initial inability to mourn fully due to his father’s public impact, Williams said, “From my end, I didn’t get a chance to focus on the private grieving process until about a year and a half after my dad passed away, meaning that I didn’t recognize that I needed to grieve privately,”
Williams has since become a father himself. He and his wife, Olivia June, have a 2-year-old son, McLaurin Clement, and a 2-month-old daughter, Zola June.
And as of last year, Williams has started to share his late father’s legacy with his own children.
“I have slowly started showing photos and pictures to my son, things from movies and in animation that my dad was in,” he explained on the “Today” show last July. “We have photos and memories around our home and he’s drawn to them. And so when he sees the Genie from ‘Aladdin’ or when he sees a photo of his grandfather, he’s drawn to it. And so we talk about it … It’s a nice way to carry on my dad’s legacy related to our family history.”
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