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Official: Robin Williams hanged himself with belt

Williams Died from Asphyxia Due to Hanging, Stone in Talks for Broadway


SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities on Tuesday detailed how Robin Williams' took his life, saying the actor and comedian hanged himself with a belt in a bedroom of his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Marin County Sheriff's Lt. Keith Boyd said Williams was last seen alive by his wife Sunday night when she went to bed. She woke up the next morning and left, thinking he was still asleep elsewhere in the home.

Shortly after that, Williams' personal assistant came to the Tiburon home and became concerned when Williams failed to respond to knocks at a door. The assistant found the 63-year-old actor clothed and dead in a bedroom.

Boyd said all evidence indicates Williams, star of "Good Will Hunting," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning, Vietnam" and dozens of other films, committed suicide by hanging himself. But he said a final ruling will be made once toxicology reports and interviews with witnesses are complete.

The condition of the body indicated Williams had been dead for at least a few hours, Boyd said. Williams also had superficial cuts on his wrist, and a pocketknife was found nearby.

Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, Boyd said. He would not say whether the actor left a suicide note.

"We still have people we want to speak with so there is some information we're going to withhold," Boyd said. "We're not discussing the note or a note at this point as the investigation is ongoing."

The Oscar-winning actor for years dealt with bouts of substance abuse and depression and referenced his struggles in his comedy routines. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.

The circumstances of the death - Williams cutting and then hanging himself at home - do not help explain what motivated him, suicide experts said. Understanding that would require a detailed "psychological autopsy" that includes the review of medical and other records, and interviews with family and friends.

These experts stressed that suicide rarely is triggered by a single factor, such as depression or substance abuse. Typically there are at least two such influences, often compounded by acute stress, such as from financial hardship or troubled personal relationships.

"We know from decades of research that there are numerous factors that contribute to suicide risk," said Michelle Cornette, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology.

Word that the actor had killed himself left neighbors in Tiburon stunned and sparked an outpouring of praise among his Hollywood colleagues. Williams had lived in the quiet, waterfront neighborhood for eight years, according to neighbors.

Noreen Nieder said Williams was a friendly neighbor who always said hello and engaged in small talk. Nieder said she wasn't close to Williams and his family, but she still felt comfortable enough to approach him and ask him about his latest stint in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

"He was very open about it," Nieder said. "He told me he was doing well."

Makeshift memorials of flowers and notes popped up around the country including on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at his Tiburon home and outside the house where the '80s sitcom "Mork &Mindy" was set in Boulder, Colorado. People also gathered to remember Williams at a bench in Boston's Public Garden where he filmed a scene for "Good Will Hunting."

Ben Affleck, a co-star and co-writer on that movie, was among the legions of friends and fans who shared tributes online.

"Robin had a ton of love & did so much for so many," Affleck tweeted. "He made Matt & my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything."

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais wrote: "I am deeply saddened. He was a lovely man who would keep everyone laughing even if he wasn't feeling good himself."


Associated Press writer Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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fnhaggerty August 12 2014 at 2:50 PM

People who commit suicide because of drug and booze are chicken. They are afraid of life and need a crutch. This should be a warning to teens that drugs and booze can take control of your life ! Don't be a chicken and give up your life for a drink

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51 replies
halmark August 12 2014 at 2:46 PM

A lot of people are "mourning the tragic loss" of Robin Williams. He doesn't deserve it. Here's a guy who had more money than 10 people could spend in 10 lifetimes...living the kind of life anyone would give anything to live, and instead of being appropriately thankful and humble, this loser became a drunk and an alcoholic. Manufacturing reasons to be depressed. And now he's killed himself because he wasn't man enough to appreciate what he had all those years. I say again: DON'T MOURN THIS LOSER! He wasn't worthy of it.

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54 replies
gina24lt August 12 2014 at 2:54 PM

I am tears with the knowledge of dark sadness and hopelessness that Robin must have felt that drove him to this desperate act. Depression is a horrible disease. All it wants to do is to get you in that dark room and place...and keep you there. That he gave so much joy and happiness to millions, and we couldn't help him in return is heartbreaking. Thoughts and prayers to his family and close friends. RIP Robin; you will be greatly missed.

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2 replies
thescot gina24lt August 12 2014 at 5:21 PM

Boozing and drugs don't help depression.

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4 replies
tommysgirl21165 gina24lt September 03 2014 at 12:11 AM

Yes, depression does take you to a dark place, and it can keep you thete for a long time.

I know I suffer from depression as well. I'm also getting tested for bi-polar.

I'm on disabilty and my depression makes it worse. I'm on meds and for the most part they help. I'm better at telling my fiancee that I'm having a melt down and need to be alone.

I can also tell when I'm emotionally drained.

So, people please get help if you think you need it. There is no shame in admitting you need it.

Also ignore the dunb a**es who called Robin Williams and everyone else thst they called names for ending their life. They obviously know nothing sbout this mentsl illness.

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chefjohnp August 12 2014 at 3:41 PM

It's not just Robin Williams who is being mourned, it is the thousands like him that are suffering from this terrible condition. Money, fame, humor can't eradicate the feeling. You can't imagine the horrible feeling to be in a room with hundreds of people who love you and are glad you are there, and yet you feel so alone. We're not talking about money or fame here, but about a human being that knew no other way out. Even the love of his children wasn't strength enough to conquer the demons that plagued his life. One day you can be on top and the next day hit a wall. Pray for his family, they are grieving. Then pray that this never happens to you. This kind of ailment isn't choosey. Prayers to his family and thanks for all the laughs. Wish that somebody would have been there with you. Walk with God.

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12 replies
schlauger1 August 12 2014 at 2:45 PM

Poor tortured soul.

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4 replies
HEIDE August 12 2014 at 2:46 PM

We lost a great talent. A shame he could not get past his depression. And how unnecessary to mention the cause of his death.

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10 replies
WildMtHoney888 August 12 2014 at 2:46 PM

Just heartbreaking.

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2 replies
afrederickc WildMtHoney888 August 13 2014 at 7:31 AM


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6 replies
gvette75 WildMtHoney888 August 13 2014 at 7:52 AM

Maybe one, or two will miss you when you're gone, afrederickc, but I doubt it.

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2 replies
Irish Ledden gvette75 August 13 2014 at 8:55 AM

alfie-boy is probably sexually challenged (queer). It won't be missed by ANYONE.

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Andy gvette75 September 07 2014 at 11:40 PM

afrederickc I hate to wish this on you but I hope you have it for a year just to see how it feels and see if you can handle it for that time

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EzinWy August 12 2014 at 7:51 PM

Mork to Orson ...

I found another use for the belt.

When I'm finished, it will probably be outlawed to own one.

Over and out.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
2 replies
jimknowsallusa EzinWy August 12 2014 at 8:10 PM

If there is a will, there is a way ... using / doing whatever. Sad RW chose that path.

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JediKnight EzinWy August 12 2014 at 8:28 PM

'Suicide' is the antithesis of the perseverance to live - 'life' ! There is always a battle of the light and dark forces. One must choose wisely.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
librafoxx1061 August 12 2014 at 4:40 PM

I don't think it's right t judge anyone for suicide. You don't know how he felt, you don't know how severely depressed he was. You don't know how deep the dark hole was. Depression and being bi-polar is an illness. It's a chemical imbalance in their brain, they don't choose to cop out, the illness just takes over. Try to educate yourselves on this illness before passing judgement.,

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3 replies
newzbug August 12 2014 at 4:40 PM

All these people who call Robin, "chicken" "loser", etc, are not even worth responding to. They are totally illiterate when it comes to the facts about Major Depressive Illness. They will never understand because they CHOOSE not to. I intend to just flag all those pathetic excuses for humanity.

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5 replies
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