Robin Williams dead: Actor was found hanging in his bedroom by his personal assistant, police say
The Oscar-winner had endured a long struggle with drug and alcohol abuse
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, was published in 2014.
Tuesday 12 August 2014
Robin Williams apparently killed himself by hanging, according to a preliminary coroner's report released today. Marin County sheriff's spokesman Lt Keith Boyd told reporters that the actor and comedian, who was 63, had hanged himself in his bedroom at his home in Tiburon, in northern California.
The Oscar-winner was last seen alive by his wife, Susan Schneider, at home late on Sunday evening. Believing he was still asleep, Schneider left the house at around 10.30am on Monday. When Williams's personal assistant arrived just over an hour later, police said, she became worried when he failed to answer the door. She gained entry, only to find him dead.
A pocket knife was found close to the actor’s body, and there were superficial injuries on the body that Lt Boyd said were likely self-inflicted.
Schneider said in a statement: “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.” Asking the press and public to respect the family's privacy, she added: “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.”
President Barack Obama joined Hollywood in mourning the beloved star, who first achieved fame as eccentric extra-terrestrial Mork in the popular late-70s sitcom, Mork and Mindy. Mr Obama said of Williams, “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 born comedian but also a gifted dramatic actor, Williams was nominated for an Academy Award three times - for his performances in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Fisher King (1991) - before he finally won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting (1997). As news of his death broke, fans flocked to the bench in Boston on which his character, widowed therapist Sean Maguire, once imparted wisdom to Will (Matt Damon), where they left flowers and famous Williams quotes written in chalk.
Ben Affleck, who co-wrote and co-starred in Good Will Hunting with Damon, said he was “heartbroken” by the news of Williams's death. “Thanks chief,” wrote Affleck in a Facebook post, “for your friendship and for what you gave the world. Robin had a ton of love in him. He personally did so much for so many people. He made Matt and my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything.”
Video: The death of Robin Williams
Williams was married three times and had three children. He and Schneider, a graphic designer, wed in October 2011. He also left behind four complete performances in films yet to be released, including a reprise of his role as President Teddy Roosevelt in the third instalment of the Night at the Museum comedies.
Read more: William's daughter pays tribute to her father
William's eccentric career in pictures
Robin Williams dead: A comic genius
President Obama leads star-studded tributes to actor
Best film moments from Good Will Hunting to Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams obituary
The actor's death was attributed to asphyxia caused by hanging, though the investigation is ongoing, including a toxicology report which is expected to take up to six weeks. Williams's long struggle with drug and alcohol abuse was well documented. He quit his cocaine habit and stopped drinking when his first child, son Zak, was born in 1983. More than two decades later, in 2006, he checked himself into rehab after relapsing into alcoholism. He also visited a 12-step rehab programme earlier this summer, though he reportedly had not relapsed. His publicist said on Monday that he had been suffering from a “severe depression” in the months before his death.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...
£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...