What is Wilson's disease? Tributes pour in as General Hospital star Bergen Williams passes away at 62

Bergen Williams (Image via bergenw/ Twitter)
Bergen Williams (Image via bergenw/ Twitter)

On November 17, the death of General Hospital actress Bergen Williams was announced by her sister on Twitter. As per the statement, she passed away on July 20, 2021, at the age of 62. The Twitter profile mentions her cause of death as complications from Wilson's Disease.

The statement posted by the late Bergen Williams' sister read:

"Bergen Williams succumbed to the ravages of Wilson's Disease surrounded by loving family."

The late actress was best known for playing housekeeper and part-time wrestler Big Alice Gunderson, aka Big Alice in ABC's long-running soap opera, General Hospital. Bergen Williams portrayed the character for 13 years (from 2002 to 2015) over a span of 155 episodes.


Who was Bergen Williams?

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Bergen Williams (aka Laura Lynn Williams) was an actress best known for her roles on General Hospital (2002-2015), Lord of Illusions (1995), and her one-time appearance on an episode of Scrubs (2003).

She was born in Inglewood, California, on July 14, 1959. Her Twitter profile labels her as an inventor as well as an actress. This could be because of her degree in Chemistry at UC Berkeley, which fetched her a Regents Scholar and a 4.0 GPA. Williams' academic strong suit did not end there, as in 1989, she graduated from UC Davis with a BA in drama.

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Since Bergen's foray into acting in the 1990s, the California native has garnered over 37 acting credits, including her one-time appearances in TV series and brief roles in movies.


Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder

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Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder that is passed from one generation to the next. It causes excess copper to get stored in the patient's liver, brain, and other vital organs. If the disease is not diagnosed at an early stage, it can prove to be fatal.

As the disease is genetic, it is present in the person from birth. However, the onset of symptoms will only start to appear as the copper is accumulated in the body's vital organs. Wilson's disease can have many symptoms, including abdominal pain, fluid buildup, discoloration of eyes into golden-brown, muscle stiffness, fatigue, jaundice, and more.

The disease can pose several issues, including liver failure, kidney stone formation, anemia, muscle spasms, and tremors, along with other neurological problems.

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Treatments for Wilson's disease include chelating with drugs like trientine and taking zinc or tetrathiomolybdate to maintain copper production in the body. While the disease can be controlled if detected in the early stages, later stages might have already caused irreversible damage.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande