Comedian Robin Williams Dead In Apparent Suicide


A law enforcement official in California's Marin County says actor Robin Williams was found dead in his home Monday north of San Francisco, apparently from suicide caused by asphyxia.  

Williams' press agent said the 63-year-old Oscar winner had recently been battling severe depression.  

His death is under investigation, according to a press release from the Marin County Sheriff's Office.  Emergency personnel arrived at Williams' home in Tiburon, Calif., at noon Monday.

The sheriff's office suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, the release said, "but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made."

Williams' publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said Williams had been "battling severe depression of late," according to the Los Angeles Times. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."

Williams discussed his battle with addiction and how he started drinking again after more than two decades of sobriety, in this 2010 interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Kerry O'Brien.

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates has more on Williams' career for our Newscast Desk:

"Williams began his career as a standup comedian and voice-over actor. He shot to fame in 1978 as a twinkly-eyed alien opposite Pam Dawber in the hit TV comedy Mork & Mindy. Williams would go on to receive an Oscar for his work in Good Will Hunting. And he would establish the annual fundraiser Comic Relief with fellow comedians Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg."

Williams had a couple films in the works at the time of his death, Entertainment Weekly reports. The third installment of Night at the Museum is due out in December and he had signed on to do a sequel of Mrs. Doubtfire.

President Obama gave his condolences Monday:

"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."

Williams' wife Susan Schneider said in a statement that the world lost "one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.'' Schneider said she is "heartbroken'' from losing "her husband and best friend.'' And she said she hopes the focus won't be on his death but on the "countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.''  

Williams' career soared in the late 1970s when he starred as the alien in the hit TV show ``Mork and Mindy.'' He built upon that success through his standup act and such films as ``Good Morning, Vietnam.''  

Williams won his Academy Award in a dramatic role, as a teacher in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting.''  He also won three Golden Globes, for "Good Morning, Vietnam,'' "Mrs. Doubtfire'' and "The Fisher King.''  

Williams' performing style was at its purest in his standup act, as he impersonated a Russian immigrant or parodied anyone from John Wayne to Keith Richards.

Story source: AP