Robin Williams, the former College of Marin student who rose to stardom as a comedian and Oscar-winning actor, was found dead Monday at his home in Tiburon.Williams appeared on many USO tours overseas performing for our troops. Here is one appearance in Kuwait where those in attendance turned away from Williams during "Retreat," when the flag was being lowered.
The cause of death is pending, but the preliminary investigation suggests he died of suicide by asphyxiation, said sheriff's Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant county coroner.
Williams had turned 63 on July 21.
An autopsy was planned for Tuesday.
Authorities received a 911 call at about 11:55 a.m. Monday from Williams' home in unincorporated Tiburon, where he was found unconscious, Boyd said. Williams lived there with his wife, Susan Schneider.
Sheriff's deputies and Tiburon and Southern Marin firefighters responded, and Williams was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m.
Williams was last seen alive at about 10 p.m. Sunday at his home.
Boyd declined to release additional details as the investigation was continuing.
Williams, who had spoken publicly about his bouts with alcohol and cocaine abuse, had recently checked into a rehab to reinforce his sobriety, according to news reports. He also had a heart valve operation in 2009.
"He has been battling severe depression of late," Williams' publicist, Mara Buxbaum, told the Hollywood Reporter, a newspaper covering the entertainment industry. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."
The newspaper also published a statement from Williams' wife: "This morning, 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. 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."
Robin McLaurin Williams was born in Chicago and spent part of his childhood in Michigan until the family moved to Marin. He graduated from Redwood High School in Larkspur in 1969 and attended College of Marin before launching his entertainment career.
But behind the laughs, Williams suffered from depression, and tried off and on to kick drugs and alcohol. Sometimes the fame, success, whatever it might be in one's life, isn't enough to fill up that hole where something is missing.
If you or someone you know is going through a hard time of life, reach out to someone. Maybe a professional, maybe a friend, maybe a minister. Life might not feel worth living now, and no one might appear to care, but I guarantee you someone else will be deeply hurt by a decision to make a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)