Ethan Hawke on Robin Williams: 'It was obvious that he was in a tremendous amount of pain'

The pair worked with one another on Dead Poets Society

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Ethan Hawke has suggested that he knew of Robin Williams’ long-term battle with depression long before he died.

He worked with the late actor during the early stages of his career on Dead Poets Society and credits Williams with having found him his first agent.

“Even [when I was] 18, it was obvious that he was in a tremendous amount of pain,” Hawke said on Canadian radio show Q with Jian Ghomeshi. “Anybody who was watching knew. A lot of people aren't watching, actually because he's so funny...

“When we lose a great, great clown, that's what he was, there are people who are scared of that world a little, but he was a light for the world.”

The 63-year-old actor was found dead on Monday 11 August after hanging himself at his home in Tiburon, California. He is survived by his wife and three children.

“First off, I feel this immediate sadness that is pervasive, in the whole community, when somebody who made all of us so happy reveals themselves to have been in tremendous personal pain,” continued Hawke.

“The happiness wasn't reciprocal - we didn't make him happy. That somehow rings to all of us. I think that it's not just me.”

Numerous high-profile names paid tribute to the actor, including Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Eddie Izzard and Jimmy Fallon. “He made us laugh. He made us cry,” said Obama in a statement. “He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised 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.”

His ashes were scattered over San Francisco Bay, near his family home, the day after his death.