Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Last Picture of Frail Genius Tormented by Depression; Williams Had Long Battle with Addiction to Drink and Drugs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Last Picture of Frail Genius Tormented by Depression; Williams Had Long Battle with Addiction to Drink and Drugs

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner in Los Angeles and Justin Davenport

OSCAR-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams hanged himself in his California waterfront house just weeks after checking out of a rehab clinic, it emerged today.

In a photograph of the actor taken last month, he looked frail and subdued at an ice-cream shop near an addiction centre in Minnesota.

The 63-year-old had checked into the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centre to, in his words, "fine tune and focus" his hard-fought sobriety.

Friends and family were said to have been increasingly worried about the star's behaviour as he fought severe depression despite being happily married to his third wife and having a diary full of major film projects.

The picture, taken at a Dairy Queen restaurant, appears to confirm that the comedian, who had long battled drugs and alcohol addiction, was still beset by demons. Police confirmed last night that the father of three's death at his home in Tiburon, near San Francisco, was a likely suicide.

The local KTVU TV channel quoted a source close to the investigation as saying that Williams had hanged himself. Today, Marin County police said: "The Sheriff's Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia." A forensic examination and drug tests were due to be carried out today.

The star had not been seen since Sunday night at about 10pm at the home he shared with his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider.

Police said an emergency call from the house at just before noon yesterday reported that Williams had been discovered unconscious and not breathing. Medics could not revive him and he was pronounced dead at 12.02pm.

Mara Buxbaum, his representative, said in a statement that he had lately been "battling severe depression" and added: "This is a tragic and sudden loss."

President Obama led dozens of tributes from Hollywood stars to the comic genius and Ms Schneider, who Williams married three years ago, while speaking of her "profound grief" asked people to remember the joy her husband brought to cinema and TV audiences.

Williams rose to fame in the Seventies television show Mork & Mindy, in which he played an alien sent from the planet Ork to observe human life. Dubbed "the funniest man alive" by Entertainment Weekly in 1997, he con-tinued his career as a stand-up comedian while having a hugely successful film career, starring in dramas, comedies and animated films, including Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Hook, The Birdcage, and Happy Feet. Nominated for an Oscar three times, he won one in 1998 for best supporting actor as a therapist in Good Will Hunting.

Williams continued to attract film parts and had reprised his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third instalment of Night at the Museum, which is due for release in December. …

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