By Terry Miller
Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams apparently took his own life at his Northern California home Monday, law enforcement officials said. Williams was 63.
“He has been battling severe depression of late,” publicist Mara Buxbaum told CNN. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
Coroner investigators suspect “the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia,” according to a statement from the Marin County, California, Sheriff’s office.
Hundreds of thousands of tributes and a makeshift memorial at his Hollywood star mark the end of one of the most illustrious comedic careers in history.
The Recording Academy, based in Santa Monica, released this statement of Williams’ death.
“Five-time GRAMMY® winner Robin Williams was a prolific actor and stand-up comedian who literally did it all: television, film, theater, and live performances. After gaining fame in his breakout role of Mork in the television show ‘Mork & Mindy,’ Williams became a household name. His improvisational skills and comedic timing were unmatched, and he quickly established himself as a larger-than-life presence on screen and on stage. His roles in classic movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, and Jumanji showcased his comedic chops, while his versatility was reflected in dramatic films such as Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, and Good Will Hunting, which earned him an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor. Although Williams is most recognized for his film and television work, he has received GRAMMYs for Best Comedy Recording three times, Best Recording for Children, and Best Spoken Comedy Album. Additionally, his heart matched his expansive talent, as he often gave generously — both financially and personally — to a number of worthwhile causes throughout his life. Our entertainment community has lost an immense talent, a true inspiration, and a creative genius, and his remarkable legacy will forever be immortalized in his vast and impressive body of work. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, and his countless fans around the world who will continue to honor his memory through laughter.”