RIP, Robin Williams: A Comic Genius Lost to Suicide

RIP, Robin Williams: A Comic Genius Lost to Suicide

When I learned that Robin Williams died at his home in Northern California today, I couldn't believe it, so I went online looking for sources to confirm. I found the release by the Marin Sheriff Department, with the heartbreaking phrase that "at this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia."

RIP Robin WilliamsA portrait from 2002. Image: © Globe Photos/

I saw multiple sources reporting a statement from his press rep:

"Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late," his rep Mara Buxbaum said. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."

I found a news story from last month, which I had missed, saying Williams had checked himself into rehab.

But one of the first things that came up in my search was this gag reel from his recently released The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, cracking up on set with Mila Kunis and Peter Dinklage:

That's how I want to remember this icon of my childhood.

And the news that he was preparing for a sequel to his most beloved role, Mrs. Doubtfire, just makes it so, so clear: Depression is a terrible disease.

I hear this news and I think of all my friends and colleagues and people I follow who have been so brave to talk about their own experiences. Jenna, and A'Driane, Morgan, Katherine, Elizabeth, Feminista ... and so many more.

And I remember suicidal depression, how it was for me, and I think about how it could be again.

But mostly, today, I remember the genie:

And Mork:

And the witty, warm person he was:

RIP Robin Williams, laughingIn 2009. Image: © Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Press

RIP Robin Williams, in Dead Poets Society"Oh captain, my captain." Image: © Touchstone Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/

RIP Robin Williams, as MorkWith Mindy. Image: © Globe Photos/

RIP Robin Williams, Comic ReliefWith Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for Comic Relief. Image: © Globe Photos/

If you need to talk to someone, visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK.


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