News People ‘Tragic loss’: Robin Williams dies
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‘Tragic loss’: Robin Williams dies

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Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams has died of an apparent suicide at the age of 63.

In a Marin County Sheriff’s Office report, police confirm they received a 911 call regarding an unconscious male at the Tiburon, California, home of the actor.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia,” the statement said.

A statement from the actor’s representative said: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He was been 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.”

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Family devastated

Heartbroken wife Susan Schneider urged the father-of-three’s millions of fans to remember his genius for creating laughter.

“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” said Schneider, who became the actor’s third wife when the couple married in 2011.

“I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief.

“As he is remembered, 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.”

He is survived by his daughter Zelda and his two sons, Cody and Zachary.

In a sweet tribute to her dad, Zelda tweeted out a quote from the French children’s tale The Little Prince to her 79,000 followers hours after his death.

President Barack Obama said Robin Williams “was one of a kind”.

“He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. 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 marginalized on our own streets,” said the US president.

Robin Williams with daughter Zelda in 2007.
Robin Williams with daughter Zelda in 2007. Photo: Getty

 

A life’s work

Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams rose to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy 

The actor, who had struggled with depression and addiction, went on to establish a career in both stand-up comedy and film action, and also did voice work, including on Aladdin and Happy Feet.

Nominated for three Academy Awards, he won the best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in Good Will Hunting.

He also received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild awards and five Grammys.

The actor had described himself as a quiet child who overcame his shyness after becoming involved in drama during high school.

In 1973, Williams became one of only two students accepted into the advanced program at the Julliard School – the other being Superman star Christopher Reeve.

Robin Williams with wife Susan Schneider. Photo: AAP
Robin Williams with wife Susan Schneider. Photo: AAP

After his work on Mork and Mindy in the late 1970s, Williams attracted a wider audience with his stand-up comedy, a consistent thread throughout his career.

Known for his manic improvisational skills and impersonations, most of his career focused on the silver screen.

His first film was the 1977 comedy Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? This was followed up by Popeye and The World According to Garp.

His performance in Good Morning Vietnam in 1987 earned him the first of three Academy Award nominations.

He earned critical acclaim, and his second Oscar nod, for his role as an English teacher in Dead Poets Society in 1989, and later won best supporting actor at the Academy Awards as a psychologist in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

His other films include Hook (1991), What Dreams May Come (1998), and thrillers Insomnia and One Hour Photo, both in 2002.

His unique voice brought the genie to life in Aladdin (1992), with Williams going on to voice parts in Fern Gully (1992), Robots (2005) and Happy Feet (2006).

One of the actor’s final roles will come posthumously in the third Night At the Museum film with Ben Stiller.

“I never got over being a fan. I think most people my age have the same feeling – that he and Steve Martin and Bill Murray sort of represented what it meant to be funny, ” Stiller said in a statement to Rolling Stone.

Williams was married three times, and has three children. He lived with his third wife in San Francisco until his death.

— Susannah Guthrie, with ABC and AAP

For help or information on depression and suicide:   

• Lifeline: 13 11 14
• Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
• MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
• Beyondblue support service: 1300 22 4636
• Lifeline: 13 11 14
• SANE Australia Helpline 1800 18 SANE (7263)

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