Legendary comedian and actor died on Monday of asphyxia
Legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide. He was 63.
The Marin County coroner said in a statement that the death was suspected “to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”
“Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late,” said the comedian’s spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
See photos: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2014
His wife, Susan Schneider, added: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
Williams, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” is survived by his wife and three children — son Zachary, 31; daughter Zelda, 25 and son Cody, 22. Williams married Schneider, his third wife, in 2011.
Williams most recently starred in the CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones,” and had recently entered rehab in July to treat addiction. It was reported at the time that he had entered the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota in order to maintain his long-term sobriety.
The actor, born in Chicago, rose to fame on the “Happy Days” spinoff “Mork & Mindy,” playing the space alien Mork from the planet Ork.With his unbridled performances and rainbow suspenders, Williams became a household name, while his “Mork & Mindy” catch-phrase, “nanu nanu,” was uttered throughout the country.
The actor, who struggled with substance abuse through the decades, went on to big-screen success in films such as “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Fisher King” and “Good Will Hunting,” which earned him the Oscar in the supporting actor category.
As a comedian, Williams was known for his manic genius, though he also proved adept in dramatic roles.
Having established his dramatic acting ability with films such as “The Fisher King,” “Dead Poets Society” and “What Dreams May Come,” Williams’ film career took a turn for the darker with films such as “Insomnia” and “One Hour Photo,” a psychological thriller in which Williams plays a mild-mannered film developer who stalks a family that he’s been developing film for.
But Williams’ professional success was accompanied by personal turmoil. Williams grappled with a cocaine addiction during the late ’70s and early ’80s, though decided to quit drugs following the death of his friend and fellow actor, John Belushi.
In 2006, the actor, who trained at the Juilliard School, again found himself grappling with his demons. Williams checked himself into rehab, later admitting that he suffered from alcoholism.
The actor underwent cardiac surgery in 2009 to replace his aortic valve.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division made the following announcement:
On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, Calif. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, Calif.
An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made. A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.
Hollywood figures reacted with dismay and sorrow as the news shocked the entertainment industry, many of whom had worked with Williams through the years. “I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul,” said actor Steve Martin on Twitter.
“Robin Williams could not have been kinder or more generous when I worked with him in ‘Flubber.’ My heart goes out to his family, tweeted actor Will Wheaton, who starred alongside him in Disney’s “Flubber” (1997).
Tim Kenneally contributed to this report. Photo above posted by Williams on his Facebook page, of actor with daughter as a baby.
Read more of TheWrap’s Robin Williams coverage: