BREAKING: Robin Williams an apparent suicide at 63

BREAKING: Robin Williams an apparent suicide at 63

2010 public domain photo of Robin Williams entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq.
2010 public domain photo of Robin Williams entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif., August 11, 2012 − Famed actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead earlier today, the result of an apparent suicide attempt. The following official statement from Marin County officials relating to the time of death and probable cause is reprinted here verbatim:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 a.m, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63-year-old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.

An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Division s of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made. A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.

Mara Buxbaum, Williams’ publicist, told The Hollywood Reporter, “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has 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.”

According to Hollywood website, “The actor in late June had checked himself into a the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center near Lindstrom, Minn to avoid falling off the wagon because his lifetime battle with alcohol and drug addiction. ‘After working back-to-back projects, Robin is simply taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment, of which he remains extremely proud,’ the actor’s rep said at the time. After quitting cold turkey, he fell off the wagon and went to rehab in 2005.”

A four-time Oscar nominee and winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the hit 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” that also made Matt Damon a star, Williams’ career seemed to have stumbled a bit in recent years but he was getting things back on track. Although his recent attempt to move back to network TV where he’d begun his meteoric rise on the comedy series “Mork and Mindy,” ended in failure earlier this spring when his new CBS’ comedy series, “The Crazy Ones,” was canceled after its first and only season, Williams had three films scheduled to come out this year, including “Boulevard,” “The Angriest Man In Brooklyn” and “Merry Friggin’ Christmas.”

Joel McHale, one of Williams’ co-stars in the latter film, told reporters in July that Williams continued to struggle with his problems with addiction but was “fighting to get his life back on track.”

“He wore his struggles and sobriety and was very up front and candid about what he has gone through, said McHale. “I know he is a man who likes to win and be healthy. So him going back to rehab, I pray it all works out.”

Sadly, that appears not to have been the case.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17