Robin Williams dies at 63, likely suicide at home in Marin (updates)

robin-williams-dies.jpgRobin Williams' publicist and Marin County sheriff's have confirmed that the Oscar-winning actor and comedian was found unresponsive this morning at home in Tiburon, north of San Francisco, just before noon. He was declared dead at the scene. Sheriff's officials said they suspect suicide due to asphyxia, but will investigate and hold a press conference on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. in San Rafael.

Williams had been "battling severe depression of late," his publicist Mara Buxbaum said in a statement. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.” Williams had been sober for 20 years at a time in his career, but in recent years had slipped and he entered rehab earlier this summer.

“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, said in a statement. “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 also leaves behind three children: Zelda Rae Williams, Cody Alan Williams and Zachary Pym Williams.

Williams won a best supporting actor Oscar in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting,” playing a therapist who works with a troubled prodigy played by Matt Damon. He was nominated three times for the best actor Oscar, for "The Fisher King," "Dead Poets Society" and "
Good Morning, Vietnam." He grew up around Detroit and studied acting at Julliard under John Houseman. He first became known to most in the TV audience as Mork from Ork on "Happy Days" then as a spin-off series opposite Pam Dawber in "Mork and Mindy." He had a long career in stand-up comedy, TV and movies.

"I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul," Steve Martin said on Twitter. Dawber said in a statement: "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?!”

From one of Williams standup acts: "I believe alcoholics are God's rodeo clowns. We're the ones doing the stupid shit nobody else will do."


Williams improvises during an appearance on Inside the Actors Studio.


Elmer Fudd sings Bruce Stringsteen:


Some coverage: New York Times, LA Times, IMDb

Reaction from President Obama:

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. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Conan O'Brien notifies audience about Robin Williams (video)
Robin Williams dies at 63, likely suicide at home in Marin (updates)
Austin Beutner goes from potential buyer to publisher of LA Times
Monday news and notes: 8.11.14
PBS SoCal finally launches a regional news show
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