TIBURON, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead Monday in his northern California home, in what was suspected to be a suicide.
Marin County, California officials said around 11:55 a.m. Pacific Time, county officials were dispatched to Williams’ home in the unincorporated community of Tiburon, California.
Williams, 63, was pronounced dead a few minutes later.
An investigation into the cause and manner of Williams’ death was under way Monday evening.
Preliminary information indicated that Williams was last seen alive at his home, where he lives with his wife, around 10 a.m. Sunday.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division said the cause of death is suspected to be suicide by asphyxia. But a comprehensive investigation must be conducted before any final determination.
A forensic investigation will be conducted on Tuesday.
Mara Buxbaum, Williams’ press representative, released a statement Monday evening.
“Robin Williams passed away this morning,” He has been battling severe depression of late.
This is a tragic and sudden loss,” Buxbaum wrote. “The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, also expressed her grief in a statement.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
New Yorkers told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond and 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr that Williams’ death was a big loss.
“He was just a very sweet, kind, gentle guy, and hilarious,” said Chris Mazzilli, owner of the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea.
And CBS 2’s Lou Young found a crowd with in a somber mood Monday evening at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club, on the Upper West Side.
“You’d laugh at a joke and you’d miss the next one, so you really had to pay attention — he was just so full of energy,” said tourist Jake Johnson.
The young acts waiting to go on at the club tried to absorb the shock of it all.
“He was a hero. He was. But we’ll go on, and I guess the best comedy comes out of tragedy, and that’s what we need,” said comedian Mara Marek.
Comedian Derek Gaines said those of his craft have to carry on.
“You have to be funny with a heavy heart, because that’s what comedy is, like, so you have to be funny in spite of. So I’ll do it and I think of his life instead of his death,” Gaines said.
Still, the more the comedians thought about the laughs Williams provided, the tougher it got.
“As big of a deal as it gets, man – it’s a terrible loss, terrible loss,” said comedian Neko White.
Multiple celebrities also mourned Williams via Twitter late Monday.
I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) August 11, 2014
Ah Robin, I’m so sorry the earth couldn’t stay worthy of you. Hope happiness awaits you.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) August 11, 2014
Oh Robin…Our hearts are broken. Rest in peace darling. We loved you.
— Goldie Hawn (@goldiehawn) August 11, 2014
I am stunned and just reeling from the news of Robin Williams’ death. He brought so much joy and heart to millions… Just, wow.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) August 12, 2014
Robin Williams was like no other ..To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold.. Robin you are an angel now !!! REST IN PEACE
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) August 11, 2014
His heart was as big as his genius. So sad. Rest in Peace Robin Williams.
— bob saget (@bobsaget) August 11, 2014
I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 11, 2014
My heart is broken to lose one of my all time favorite entertainers today! To think of all the amazing… http://t.co/qC5Bou12bG
— Melissa Joan Hart (@MelissaJoanHart) August 12, 2014
We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile. pic.twitter.com/UOY8LTjVRA
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) August 11, 2014
CBS also released the following official statement:
“Our world has lost a comic genius, a gifted actor and a beautiful man. We will remember Robin Williams as one of the unique talents of his time who was loved by many, but also as a kind, caring soul, who treated his colleagues and co-workers with great affection and respect. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies go out to his family, loved ones and friends.”
President Barack Obama also released a statement encapsulating Williams’ entire career and his many roles.
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind,” Obama wrote. “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. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”