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Robin Williams dead at 63: The Day the Laughter Died

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On Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, beloved American comedian and actor Robin Williams was found dead in his home in California. According to CNN and other media outlets, the the Marin County Sheriff's Office reports the suspected cause of death is "suicide by asphyxia."

According to reports, Marin County deputies responded to an emergency call from Williams' home in unincorporated Tiburon, California, at 11:55 a.m., reporting "a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing." The sheriff's statement said Williams, last seen alive at his home by his wife at about 10 p.m. Sunday, was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m. on Aug. 11.

A 1959 plane crash that took the lives of musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Vallens and Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr. (known as The Big Bopper) came to be known as "the day the music died" in the hit song "American Pie." For Williams' many fans around the globe, Aug. 11, 2014 will be known as "the day the laughter died." Despite Williams' penchant for funny guy roles, perhaps none of us knew what overwhelming sadness lurked beneath the surface.

According to Williams' media representative Mara Buxbaum, Williams "has been battling severe depression of late." Williams' tragic death is trending on Twitter, where thousands of fans have added tributes using the hashtag #RIPRobinWilliams.

Williams is best known to children for his role in many award-winning comedies, including: "Popeye," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Hook," "Aladdin," "Jumanji" and a favorite of my grandchildren, "Happy Feet."

Those of us who were TV watchers in the 1970s and early 1980s will always remember Williams in his role as the alien Mork in the TV comedy "Mork & Mindy." Many of us even greeted friends back in the day with Mork's famous "Nanu Nanu" greeting. Every time Mork met someone, he said in robotone, "I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu."

Williams also had roles in more serious movies, including: "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Dead Poets Society," "Awakenings," "The Fisher King" and "Good Will Hunting." Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best actor three times and received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, five Grammy Awards and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "Good Will Hunting."

Robin Williams is survived by his wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider, who he married in 2011. In addition, Williams is survived by son Zachary with first wife Valerie Velardi; and daughter Zelda, an actress, and son Cody with second wife Marsha Garces Williams, according to EOnline.

Depression is often seen by those who don't understand the mental disorder as a sign of weakness. The darkness that ended Robin Williams' life has affected many other lives, both famous and not so famous. Thanks Mr. Williams for the many years of laughter and joy you gave the world. You will be missed.

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