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Actor and comedian Robin Williams dead of reported suicide

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He made audiences laugh for decades. But according to CNN, comedian Robin Williams died at his northern California home Monday. The death follows a reported bout of depression and alcohol abuse. Williams was 63.

Investigators suspect "the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia," according to a statement from the Marin County Sheriff's Department.

Mara Buxbaum, Williams' media representative, told CNN that, "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."

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death across all age groups in 2010, the last year in which statistics are available. Many who commit suicide struggle with major depression, a common yet serious medical condition that affects both the mind and body. It is a complex illness, creating physical, psychological, and social symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • A dramatic change in appetite resulting in a 5% change in weight (gain or loss) in a month
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
  • Inability to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions
  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Inactivity and withdrawal from typical pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Williams was last seen alive at his home, where he lived with his wife, Susan Schneider, at about 10 a.m., the sheriff's statement said. Marin County deputies responded to an emergency call from Williams' home at 11:55 a.m., reporting "a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing." The actor was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m.

The actor had a long and successful career that started as a student at Juilliard School. He was later cast as Mork, an alien visitor to Earth, for a 1974 episode of television's "Happy Days." That character led to the spin-off, "Mork & Mindy."

Williams' career also included plenty of dramatic credits, including "Good Will Hunting," a 1997 film for which he earned a best supporting actor Oscar.

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