Emergency crew were called to the home of legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams at approximately noon yesterday after receiving a phone call from his third wife, Susan Schneider, who found the 63-year-old unresponsive after hanging himself in a suicide bid. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Robin Williams who has been hailed as a comic genius is believed to have suffered from substance abuse problems and depression.
His publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said: “[Robin] has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
The Mrs Doutfire actor has always been open about his addictions. In 2006 he spent time in Hazelden campus after relapsing, admitting drinking had become a problem again after 20 years of sobriety.
He said in an interview with ABC News: “You’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump,’. The same voice that goes, ‘Just one.’ … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.”
While Robin Williams started his career as a stand up comedian he fast garnered Hollywood attention after comedic roles in the 1980s including the cult classic Mork & Mindy. Though proving himself to be more than a man to make you laugh, Robin was also a a serious actor, winning a series of awards including Golden Globes for Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire and The Fisher King as well as an Oscar for Goodwill Hunting.
Struggling with depression, the actor is said to have found it hard always having to portray the ‘funny guy’ the public wanted. He once said: “It’s hard because people want to know you’re a certain thing. They still say, ‘That’s the little manic guy. He’s the little adrenaline guy…’ ”
However, while he may have felt pressured to be the comedian, President Obama’s heartfelt tribute to Robin Williams proved he was a man of versatility, making a huge impact on American culture for 35 years.
“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,” said Obama. “He made us laugh. He made us cry. 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.”
The death of the Hollywood legend, who leaves behind a wife (plus two ex-wives) and three children, has shocked everyone, especially those who had the pleasure of meeting or working with him in the showbiz industry. Celebrities across the globe have turned to social media to make tributes. Here’s some of their moving messages:
If you are struggling with depression, seek help from your local GP or visit the following for advice: gnp-dubai.com and mentalhealth.org.uk/depression
Some of his greatest performances:
Mork & Mindy
Good Morning Vietnam
Good Will Hunting
Dead Poets Society
Main image: Flickr