A law enforcement official in California's Marin County says actor Robin Williams was found dead in his home Monday north of San Francisco, apparently from suicide caused by asphyxia.
Williams' press agent said the 63-year-old Oscar winner had recently been battling severe depression.
Williams' wife Susan Schneider said in a statement that the world lost "one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings." Schneider said she is "heartbroken" from losing "her husband and best friend." And she said she hopes the focus won't be on his death but on the "countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."
His career soared in the late 1970s when he starred as the alien in the hit TV show "Mork and Mindy." Williams built upon that success through his standup act and such films as "Good Morning, Vietnam."
He won his Academy Award in a dramatic role, as a teacher in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting." Williams also won three Golden Globes, for "Good Morning, Vietnam," ''Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Fisher King."
Celebrity colleagues and admirers of Robin Williams shared their reactions Monday to his death:
- "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?" - Pam Dawber, in a statement.
- "Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can't believe he's gone." - Steven Spielberg, in a statement.
- "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul." - Steve Martin, on Twitter.
- "I saw him on stage the very first time he auditioned at the Improv and we have been friends ever since. It's a very sad day." - Jay Leno, in a statement.
- "We have lost one of our most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation's greatest actors. To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of 'genius.'" - Chris Columbus, in a statement.
- "Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you're sad, please tell someone." - Jimmy Kimmel, on Twitter.
- "Robin was friend, boss, brother, inspiration. His generosity and intelligence knew no limits." - Harvey Fierstein, on Twitter.
- "I've never known a sweeter, brighter, more considerate person than Robin. Robin's commitment as an artist to lifting our mood and making us happy is compared to none. He loved us all and we loved him back." - John Travolta, in a statement.
- "A big tenacious overflowing hyperkinetic eruption of compassion would be (the) best tribute to Williams." - John Cusack on Twitter.
- "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. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit." - President Barack Obama, in a statement.