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Gene Wilder's widow has opened up about caring for the actor as he struggled with Alzheimer disease for the last six years of his life.
The Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory star passed away in August 2016 at the age of 83 and his wife was by his side as his caregiver until the very end.
Essay - ABC - News - Week - Karen
In an essay for ABC news this week Karen Wilder details the couple's 35-year marriage and Gene's heartbreaking decline as the disease took hold.
'I never pictured myself marrying a movie star. I also never saw myself spending years of my life taking care of one. But I've done both. Love was the reason for the first. Alzheimer's disease, the second,' Karen wrote.
Karen - Pathologist - Gene - Office - Research
Karen, who used to be a speech pathologist, had met Gene when he had come to her office to research his role as a deaf character in See No Evil, Hear No Evil.
At the time the actor was still married to Gilda Radner but after she died from ovarian cancer he reconnected with Karen and they married a year later.
Years - Couples - Karen
'For more than twenty years, we were one of the happiest couples I knew,' Karen wrote.
After his diagnosis in 2010, Karen was forced to watch as her husband's memory and motor skills deteriorated.
Synapses - Brain - Result - Progression - Losses
'The synapses of his brain were getting tangled and the result would be a steady and terrible progression of losses -- memory of course, but also motor control, to the...
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