Oscar winning actor and comedian Robin Williams has been found dead at his home in California after apparently killing himself at the age of 63.
The star of Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs Doubtfire, who battled depression and an addiction to drugs and alcohol for decades, was found dead in his San Francisco mansion at around noon yesterday.
Marin County Sheriff’s Office said today it believed Williams’ death was a suicide due to asphyxia.
The married father of three had been back in rehab last month ‘fine-tuning’ his sobriety in a year where he had been working on six movies and a TV series.
His distraught wife Susan Schneider revealed her husband had died in a statement last night and said: ‘This morning I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one if its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken’.
Friends and colleagues such as Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin and Ben Stiller all took to social media to express their grief and offer condolences to Williams’ third wife and three children, son Zachary Pym, 31, Zelda Rae, 25 and Alan, 22.
President Obama issued a touching tribute to the actor and comedian, and thanked him his influence on American culture throughout his 35 year career.
He said: ‘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.
A statement by the Marin County Sheriff’s Department in California said: ‘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, California. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams.’
‘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 12pm.
Outside the family home in a neighborhood of low-slung houses with water views, people left flowers and talked about the man who rode his bike around and had a smile and a wave for children on the street.
‘It wasn’t like having a celebrity,’ said Sonja Conti who said the actor would often ask about her dog and nicknamed him ‘Dude.’ ‘He was just a normal, nice guy. People left him alone.’
Another neighbor, Kelly Cook, 50, described Williams as a ‘private man’ who would often be seen cycling around the area.
She said her children would call him ‘the funny man’ and he would often speak to them when he was out walking his pug called Lenny.
Known as ‘the funniest man alive’, Williams fought drug and alcohol problems from the time he was still appearing in Mork & Mindy – right at the start of his fame.