Comedian Robin Williams Dead at 63

robin williams

(CNN) — Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams apparently took his own life at his Northern California home Monday, law enforcement officials said. Williams was 63.

“He has been battling severe depression of late,” his media representative Mara Buxbaum told CNN. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Coroner investigators suspect “the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia,” according to a statement from the Marin County, California, Sheriff’s Office.

Williams married graphic designer Susan Schneider in Napa Valley, California, ceremony in October 2011. Schneider sent a written statement to CNN through the representative.

“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.”

Word of Williams’ death stunned the entertainment community and beyond Monday.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent this touching Tweet:

President Barack Obama’s statement sent from the White House summed it up:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

Comedian Steve Martin tweeted, “I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.”

Former CNN host Larry King said he would remember Williams as “a genuine caring guy.  Not just a funny man, but a guy who cared about people.”

Marin County deputies responded to an emergency call from Williams’ home in unincorporated Tiburon, California, at 11:55 a.m., reporting “a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing,” the release from the sheriff said.

Williams was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m., it said.

Williams was last seen alive at his home, where he lives with his wife, at about 10 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s statement said.

“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,” the sheriff’s statement said.

“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.”

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, the sheriff said.

Williams made at least two trips to rehab for drug treatment, including a visit this summer, and he underwent heart surgery in 2009.

Williams, born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, studied theater at Juilliard School before taking his stand up act to nightclubs. He was cast as Mork, an alien visitor to Earth, for a 1974 episode of television’s “Happy Days.”

“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler said it was “unimaginable that this is the reality today, that this incredible human being, incredible, delicate, funny, dramatic human being is gone.”

Winkler said he “realized I was in the presence of greatness” at Williams’ first rehearsal as Mork.

“I just realized my only job is to keep a straight face,” said Winkler, who played “The Fonz.” “And it was impossible. Because no matter what you said to him, no matter what line you gave to him, he took it in, processed it, and then it flew out of his mouth, never the same way twice. And it was incredibly funny every time.”

The role led to the spin-off show “Mork & Mindy,” which showcased Williams’ usual comic improvisation talents.

He proved his dramatic acting skills in “Good Will Hunting,” a 1997 film that earned him a best supporting actor Oscar.

His memorable movies over the past three decades includes “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Birdcage.” The list is much longer.

Williams credited the influence of Jonathan Winters’ comic irreverence and quirky characters as a great influence on his comedy. The connection between the two was completed when Winters was cast as Williams’ son on “Mork & Mindy.”

When Winters died in 2013, Williams said he was “my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend.” He tweeted that Winters was his “Comedy Buddha.”

“Mork & Mindy” co-star Pam Dawber simply said “I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?”

WIlliams and Dawber reunited on TV earlier this year on an episode of the CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones.”

Williams’ fans can look forward to four more movie appearances coming to theaters, including another installment in the “Night at the Museum” franchise.

The film, set for a December release, has Williams reprising the Teddy Roosevelt role he delivered in the first two comedies.

13 comments

  • deborahrmorgan

    Oh who cares if he killed himself………….big baby……he had tons of money and i cant accept that his life was so terrible……that he justcouldnt take it boo hoo!

    • T

      You, apparently don’t realize that depression is a mental condition. Clown. It doesn’t matter if you have all of the money and success in the world, you can still suffer from mental illness. Have fun being a terrible person, and don’t speak on matters where you don’t have experience.

    • WHATTHE????

      This will be my first time EVER posting a reply on any website’s comment section; however, I feel it is warranted in this case:
      DEBORAHMORGAN…YOU ARE A COMPLETE JACKA$$! Your lack of intellect and compassion is as bad as this very situation of Robin Williams leaving us far too soon. GOD HELP YOUR OFFSPRING!!!

      • deborahrmorgan

        Listen pal…..at least im willing to use my name instead of hiding behind a moniker. ………… and so yeah to bad and who cares………..there are people in our own back yard who need help right now…………help them……..and shut up.

  • crackers81

    It’s funny; I hadn’t really thought of Robin Williams lately. He hasn’t been in a major role for a while and had fallen off my radar a bit. Now I’m finding it a little surreal that he’s not here to play that funny man/sappy man routine again. I wish his death had been a more humane ending (though few deaths genuinely are). He certainly deserved better than this. Thanks for everything, Rob.

  • Johnson

    Genuine soul who probably cared “too much”. Hard to make it when you feel the pain of the world more than others. It’s why most true comedians are more sane than others yet struggle with how the world is leading to things like this.

    • Hamncheezonrye

      JOHNSON – Thank you. You understand what some folks are too insensitive to care about. Robin Williams had a heart of gold and cared more about people than most. And to DEBORAHRMORGAN … It’s not about the money or the fame – what you miss is that he suffered from depression, which is an insidious thing that can’t be just “snapped out of” at the drop of a hat. Your insensitivity is reprehensible.

  • DebLearn

    What a huge loss to both his families and all his fans. I love Robin Williams and started watching him when he starred in Mork and Mindy. I loved his humor. My condolences to his family. R.I.P. Robin Williams.

  • K

    So sad! RIP Robin Williams! You made us laugh and you made us cry….why oh why did you have to die like this?!

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