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.”
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
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1980: Robin Williams in the world-famous Mork and Mindy series that launched his career.
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1984: Williams in 'Moscow On The Hudson'. The actor earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his turn as a Russian circus performer in this 1984 hit.
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1987: Williams in the critically acclaimed 'Good Morning, Vietnam'. Williams ad-libbed all the radio broadcast scenes from this 1987 film about a radio DJ sent to Vietnam to entertain the US troops serving out there.
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1989: Robin Williams appeared with Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles in 'Dead Poets Society' as English teacher John Keating - or the “slightly more daring O Captain, My Captain”.
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1990: Williams and Robert De Niro in Awakenings, an emotional film that saw Williams portray a British neurologist who administered a drug to catatonic patients that briefly awoke them from decades of catatonia.
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1991: Williams appeared as an adult Peter Pan forced to return to Neverland to rescue his children in 'Hook'. The film received mixed reviews but proved popular at the box office.
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1992: Williams in 'Toys'. The film followed a military general after he inherits a toy factory and decides to produce war toys.
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1993: Williams appeared in one of his best-loved roles in Mrs Doubtfire, where he played an actor disguising himself as a female housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children.
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1995: Williams appeared as man released from a board game after being trapped for decades inside it in the blockbuster 'Jumanji'.
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1996: Williams starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in 'Jack', a film about a young boy who ages four times faster than other children.
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1997: Williams appeared alongside Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting', a film that won him an Oscar for his portrayal of psychologist Sean Maguire. As he accepted his award, a touched Williams warned the audience: "Oh man, this might be the one time I’m speechless".
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1997: The box-office hit Flubber saw Williams take the role of Professor Philip Brainard, who creates the unstoppable green goo Flubber in his bid to produce a new energy source.
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1998: Williams gave a poignant turn as Dr Hunter 'Patch' Adams, an unqualified doctor who treats patients with laughter in 'Patch Adams' .
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1998: Williams stars alongside Cuba Gooding, Jr in 'What Dreams May Come', a film that follows American physician Chris Nielsen's journey through the afterlife after he is killed in a car crash.
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1999: Robin Williams, Bob Balaban (left), and Armin Mueller-Stahl star in the movie 'Jakob the Liar' about a Jewish shopkeeper who uses his imagination to engender hope throughout a Polish ghetto in 1944.
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1999: American Science Fiction drama 'Bicentennial Man' followed an android (Williams) as he experiences emotions and becomes more human
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2002: Williams took a more sinister role as reclusive crime writer and murderer Walter Finch in 'Insomnia'.
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2002: Williams undertook an unsettling, psychopathic role in One Hour Photo, where he played a photo lab technician obsessed with a family who frequented the store.
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2002: Williams starred alongside Danny DeVito in 'Death to Smoochy', a film about a corrupt children's television host disgraced by an FBI sting.
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2005: Robin Williams stars in 'The Big White', a film about a financially struggling travel agent trying to make a bogus life insurance claim in order to pay for his wife's Tourette treatment.
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2006: Williams and Ben Stiller star in 'Night at the Museum'. Williams will appear in upcoming film "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," playing the statue of Teddy Roosevelt who comes to life at night.
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2006: Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels and Cheryl Hines star in roadtrip comedy 'R.V.', which followed the tribulations of a dysfunctional family.
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2006: Williams took the leading role in the political comedy drama 'Man of the Year' about a comedian who decides to run for President and finds himself mistakenly elected.
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2007: Robin Williams and Freddie Highmore in 'August Rush', where Williams played a homeless musician who teaches children living on the streets music and employs them as performers.
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2007: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski starred in 'License to Wed'. Williams played a reverend who places a couple through a series of tests to see if they should marry in his church. The rom-com was poorly received by critics.
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2010: Robin Williams and John Travolta star in 'Old Dogs', a comedy that sees two friends and owners of a sports marketing firm struggle to deal with seven-year-old twins placed in their care. The film was nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards.
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2013: Susan Sarandon, Robert De Niro and Robin Williams star in The Big Wedding
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2013: Williams starred as President Eisenhower in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'.
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2014: Robin Williams with his Mork and Mindy co-star Pam Dawber in The Crazy Ones series. It was axed after one season.
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2014: Rob Williams stars in 'The Angriest Man in Brooklyn', the story of a bad-tempered man mistakenly told he has 90 minutes to live.
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.
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.
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