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

Los Angeles

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.

Robin Williams Had 'Serious Money Problems' Months Before Death, Reports Claim

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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn