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Robin Williams dead at 63: Oscar-winning actor died of an apparent suicide

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On Aug. 11, 2014, Robin Williams was found dead in his home in Tiburon, Calif., of an apparent suicide. He was 63. According to the Associated Press: The sheriff's office in California's Marin County "said a preliminary investigation shows the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia." Williams reportedly had a long history of battling depression and substance abuse. He was open about the fact that he spent time in rehab for addictions to alcohol and cocaine.

Williams (who attended the famed performing-arts school) Juilliard) first found fame in the late 1970s as the star of the sitcom "Mork & Mindy," where his manic, rapid-fire comedic style became his trademark. He then segued into starring roles in movies, mostly in comedies. Williams won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a rherapist in the 1997 drama "Good Will Hunting." His other well-known movies over the years included "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning, Vietnam," "One Hour Photo," "Hook," "The World According to Garp," "Patch Adams," "Awakenings," "The Fisher King," ''Dead Poets Society," "Moscow on the Hudson," "Old Dogs," "Popeye," and "What Dreams May Come."

Several of Williams' last movies are scheduled for release in 2014 or 2015, including the animated film "Absolutely Anything" (release date to be announced), the comedy "Merry Friggin' Christmas" (which arrives in U.S. and Canadian cinemas on Nov. 7, 2014) and the action-adventure "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" (in U.S. and Canadian theaters on Dec. 19, 2014). Williams also completed the indie drama "Boulevard," which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and does not have a distributor but will likely get a distributor in the wake of Williams' death. The dark comedy "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn" was released in May 2014.

During his long career, Williams won numerous awards, including two Emmys for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: for 1988's "ABC Presents: A Royal Gala" and for 1987's "Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin." He was also honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2005 Golden Globe Awards.

Williams was also known for his stand-up comedy. In 2003, he won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy album, for "Robin Williams — Live 2002." In theater, he co-starred with Steve Martin in the 1988 off-Broadway revival of "Waiting for Godot." In 2002, he did the play "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway," and in 2011, he starred in the Broadway production of "Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo."

In 2013, Williams returned to starring in a sitcom with the show "The Crazy Ones" (which featured an episode that reunited him with his former "Mork & Mindy" co-star Pam Dawber), but the show was cancelled after one season.

Williams' widow, Susan Schneider (his third wife, whom he married in 2011), released this statement: "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.

"On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."

Williams has three children from two previous marriages, which ended in divorce: Zachary "Zak" Pym (born in 1983), from his marriage to first wife Valerie Velardi; Zelda Rae (born in 1989) and Cody Alan (born in 1991) from his marriage to second wife Marcia Garces. Williams was married to Velardi from 1978 to 1988. His marriage to Garces lasted from 1989 to 2008.

Here are statements released by celebrities after the death of Williams:

Barack Obama: "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."

Pam Dawber: "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?"

Steven Spielberg: "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."

Steve Martin: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

John Travolta: "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."

Jay Leno: "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."

Chris Columbus: "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.'"

Jimmy Kimmel: "Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you're sad, please tell someone."

Harvey Fierstein: "Robin was friend, boss, brother, inspiration. His generosity and intelligence knew no limits."

John Cusack: "A big tenacious overflowing hyperkinetic eruption of compassion would be (the) best tribute to Williams."

Aug. 14, 2014 update: Williams' widows Schneider released this statement: "Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines or comforting a sick child – Robin wanted us to laugh and feel less afraid. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly those fighting personal battles.

"It is our hope in the wake of Robin's tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid."

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