RIP Tom Seaver: What is Lewy Body Dementia, Which Also Took The Life of Robin Williams?

Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver was suffering from Lewy body dementia and had retired from public life in 2019.

Tom Seaver, New York Mets greatest professional baseball pitcher, has died at 75. The Hall of Fame pitcher was suffering from complications of Lewy Body Dementia. He died in his sleep on August 31. "We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away. We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you," his wife Nancy Seaver and daughters Sarah and Anne said in a statement.

Seaver, winner of three each of Cy Young Awards and NL ERA awards, National League Rookie of the Year, had taken part in All-Star game 12 times. Also known as Tom Terrific, his greatest achievement came in 1969 when Mets won the World Series.

Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver, New York Mets greatest professional baseball pitcher has died at 75. Instagram

Achievements and Hall of Fame

Seaver played for 20 years and represented various teams including Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox. He has 2.86 ERA and 311 victories with 3,640 batters to his credit. He retired in 1988 and was erected into Hall of Fame in 1992 as a result of 98.8 percent of ballots submitted by members in the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Giving the reason for Seaver's death, Seaver's family said that he was diagnosed with dementia in March 2019. The family also announced that he was retiring from public life due to his health conditions. Even actor Robin Williams who died in 2014 was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia (LBD) disease is associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood, stated the National Institute of Aging. According to National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, more than one million Americans suffer from this condition.

The condition is usually mistakenly identified as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson'. This leads to misdiagnoses in patients who are actually suffering from Lewy body dementia. Media magnet Ted Turner was in fact misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, whereas robin Williams was misdiagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Robin William's wife Susan Schneider Williams had called the condition "the terrorist inside my husband's brain." Lewy body dementia affects people in seven stages. It starts with no cognitive decline then develops into mild cognitive decline in stages two and three, then it intensifies to moderate cognitive decline in stage four and develops into moderately severe cognitive decline in stage 5. When it reaches stage six the condition is identified as severe cognitive decline that develops into very severe cognitive decline in stage seven.