Acclaimed actor and beloved comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his home in Tiburon, California on Monday afternoon in an apparent suicide. The actor who rose to fame playing a goofy alien on the TV show Mork and Mindy and went on to become one of the most versatile and beloved comedians of his generation was 63 years old.
The Marin County sheriff’s office said in a statement that officers were dispatched to the actor’s home upon a 911 call received at 11:55 a.m. Emergency responders arrived at 12:00 p.m. and the actor was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m. An investigation is currently underway, but the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”
While Williams was known for his quirky comedic roles and unflagging optimism, like many comedians, he struggled with depression and addiction off-screen. Williams joked about his troubles with alcohol and cocaine in his standup routines, but was constantly haunted by those demons. In 2006, Williams checked back into rehab upon suffering a relapse after twenty years of sobriety, The New York Times said. Then he entered rehab again earlier this year, at which time his publicist said that he was taking some time to refocus on his efforts to stay sober. Williams’ publicist told the Times that recently the actor “has been battling severe depression.”
Williams first gained public attention from his role as the lovable alien Mork on the sitcom Mork and Mindy, as well as his zany stand up routines that revealed his seemingly inexhaustible ability to improvise on any topic. Williams could make almost anyone laugh; riffing on topics from the obscene to the completely tame with hilarious effect.