Robin Williams was a brilliant shape-shifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work, like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting." Rest in peace.
The death of funny man Robin Williams has turned off a light in Hollywood.
Marin County Sheriff’s officials confirmed the Academy Award winner and comic supernova committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt at his San Francisco Bay Area home. The actor’s personal assistant found him Monday in a bedroom, with superficial cuts on his wrist, and a pocketknife nearby.
Williams, whose explosive pop cultural riffs and impressions dazzled audiences around the world for decades, was 63.
Marin County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd said Williams, star of “Good Will Hunting,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” and countless other films, was seeking treatment for depression. He would not say whether the actor left a suicide note.
Williams’ sudden death has sent a sense of mourning throughout Hollywood.
His “Moscow on the Hudson” co-star, the Cuban-Venezuelan actress Maria Conchita Alonso, tweeted out an appreciation to Williams in Spanish just hours after the news of his death. “Sweet. Genius. Gentle. Timid. Humble. Respectful. Star. Rest in peace.”
She continued these sentiments on MSNBC Tuesday morning. Speaking to Jose Diaz-Balart, the actress described him as “one of the most gentle man” she has ever met.
“He was very timid, very shy, believe it or not,” she said. “He would hide his shyness through his work.”
Alonso said working with him in “Moscow on the Hudson” was like a dream come true for a young actress – especially that she was a huge fan of his because of “Mork and Mindy.”
“He was the most humble star that I have met in my whole life,” she said. “He is in peace (now).”
Boyd said all evidence indicated Williams took his own life, but a final ruling will be made once toxicology reports and interviews with witnesses are complete.
It was no secret that the Oscar-winning actor had suffered for years from periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression — he made reference to it himself in his comedy routines. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.
When he sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse that followed 20 years of sobriety, he joked about falling off the wagon: "I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open."
Actor Ben Affleck, who co-wrote and starred in “Good Will Hunting,” said he was heartbroken over the sudden death.
On Tuesday he wrote on his Facebook page, “Heartbroken. Thanks chief – 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 (Damon) and my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything.”
He concluded, “May you find peace my friend. #RobinWilliams”
Makeshift memorials of flowers and notes popped up around the country including on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his Tiburon home and outside the house where the '80s sitcom "Mork &Mindy" was set in Boulder, Colorado.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.