Robin William’s appeal stretched across several generations and genres, from family fare as the voice of Disney’s blue Genie in “Aladdin” to his portrayal of a fatherly therapist in the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting,” for which he earned his sole Oscar.
However, many remebered the comedian on Monday for his tender performance in “Mrs. Doubtfire”, when he played the part of a British nanny whose identity he assumed as a divorced father to be with his children.
The actor had beensuffering from tough depression, his publicist Mara Buxbaum revealed to reporters adding that Williams had repeatedly talked about his past struggles with alcohol.
“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,” Williams’ wife Susan Schneider said in a statement.
The Marin County Sheriff’s coroner’s division unveiled that investigators believe Williams committed suicide by asphyxia, but the exact answer will be given later in the week as an autopsy will be conducted only on Tuesday.
The local authorities also said they received an emergency call about noon local time on Monday, saying Williams was unconscious and not breathing at his home near Tiburon, north of San Francisco.
“Outside the family home in a neighborhood of low-slung houses with water views, people left flowers and talked about the man who rode his bike around and had a smile and a wave for children on the street,” Reuters reports.
“It wasn’t like having a celebrity,” said Sonja Conti who said the actor would often ask about her dog and nicknamed him “Dude.” “He was just a normal, nice guy. People left him alone.”
Social media was alight with appreciation for the passed away comedia, who introduced his boyish exuberance and outlandish vaudeville-esque style to audiences as a quirky extraterrestrial in the late 1970s TV comedy “Mork & Mindy.”
U.S. President Barack Obama called the star a “one of a kind” actor who could make people laugh and cry when performing different characters. “He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit,” Obama said in a statement.
Williams, who recently starred in the CBS television comedy “The Crazy Ones” until it was canceled after one season in May, had entered a rehabilitation center this summer to help him maintain sobriety. His representatives at the time said Williams was not using drugs or alcohol but was there to “fine-tune” his sobriety after a demanding work schedule.
The death of the famous actor put Hollywood in shock with colleagues mourning the loss of what many called a big-hearted man and one of the most inventive comedians of his time.
“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him,” said Steven Spielberg, who directed Williams as Peter Pan in the 1991 film, “Hook.”