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Monday 22 September 2014

Police 'withholding some evidence' as investigation into Robin Williams' death continues

Nicola Anderson & Louise Kelly

Published 12/08/2014 | 00:05

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Actor-comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Northern California from an apparent suicide, Marin County Sheriff's Office said. He was 63.   Reuters
Actor-comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Northern California from an apparent suicide, Marin County Sheriff's Office said. He was 63. Reuters
Robin Williams and daughter Zelda Williams at the premiere of their film "House of D" in New York, April 10, 2005. Reuters
Robin Williams and daughter Zelda Williams at the premiere of their film "House of D" in New York, April 10, 2005. Reuters
Robin Williams has checked into a US rehab facility
Robin Williams has checked into a US rehab facility

A live press conference was held at 7pm this evening (11AM US) to discuss the details and circumstances of the tragic death of legendary funnyman Robin Williams.

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Marin County Deputy coroner Keith Boyd said that preliminary forensic examinations indicated that the actor died from asphyxiation but that "the investigation was still active".  

Mr Boyd would not reveal whether or not the 63-year-old veteran entertainer had left a suicide note, saying that the authorities "are withholding some evidence at this time."

The Deputy coroner also informed press that Williams had been found with superficial stab wounds on his left wrist and a pocket knife was found nearby.

Williams was last seen alive by his wife at around 10.30pm on Sunday evening before she went to bed,  Boyd said.

She left their home at around 10.30am the following morning, believing he was still in bed asleep.

But Williams was found clothed and in his room by his personal assistant when she became concerned that he did not answer her knocking at 11.45am yesterday.

The veteran actor who shot to big-time success in the 70s sitcom 'Mork & Mindy', had been battling alcoholism and depression in recent months and had checked himself into rehab just a few weeks ago.

He died in the house he shared with his third wife, Susan Schneider.

Graphic designer Susan Schneider, said: "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."

In a poignant last tweet to his daughter, Zelda Rae on her birthday on July 31, Williams wrote: "Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! Quarter of a century old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!"

Williams's publicist Mara Buxbaum told 'The Hollywood Reporter': "Robin Williams passed away this morning".

"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."

READ: Tributes pour in from President Obama and Hollywood elite from Spielberg to Steve Martin

Williams was famous for films such as 'Good Morning Vietnam' and 'Dead Poet's Society'.

He shot to fame through his stand-up comedy and his first starring role in the 'Happy Days' spin-off, 'Mork & Mindy'.

He went on to a successful film career, winning the best supporting actor Oscar for 'Good Will Hunting' in 1997.

He most recently starred in the CBS comedy 'The Crazy Ones', which lasted only one season. A statement from police in Marin County, in the North San Francisco Bay area of California, said they had received an emergency call at 11.55am local time (8pm Irish time) reporting that a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing in his home in Tiburon, California.

Emergency staff were dispatched to the scene and Williams was pronounced dead at 12.02pm.

"An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Division of the Sheriff's Office," said the statement.

It revealed that Williams was last seen alive at 10pm the previous night by his wife.

"At this time, the Sheriff's 
Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made," the statement added.

Last month, Williams checked himself into the Hazelden Addiction TreatmentCentre in Minnesota in a bid to maintain his sobriety.

At that time, actor Joel McHale, who worked with Williams on upcoming film 'Merry Friggin' Christmas' commented: "He wore his struggles and sobriety and was very up front and candid about what he has gone through.

"I know he is a man who likes to win and be healthy. So him going back to rehab, I pray it all works out."

Williams first checked himself into an Oregon rehabilitation clinic for alcoholism in August 2006 after being sober for 20 years.

He revealed his battle against alcoholism on 'Good Morning America.' "It's the same voice...you're standing at a precipice and you look down, there's a voice and it's a little quiet voice that goes, 'Jump'," Williams told ABC anchor Diane Sawyer.

"The same voice that goes, 'Just one.' And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that's not the possibility."

READ: Robin Williams had been grappling with severe depression

Williams also said he thought he could deal with his addiction on his own. "But you can't. That's the bottom line," he said. "You really think you can, then you realise, I need help, and that's the word ... It's hard admitting it, then once you've done that, it's real easy."

Tributes to the talented actor and comedian flowed in last night. 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' star Steve Martin told of his sadness at the news: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul," he said.

His fellow comedian Chris Rock said, "So sad so funny", and actor John Cusack tweeted: "A big tenacious, overflowing hyper-kinetic eruption of compassion would be best tribute to Williams."

'Happy Days' actor Henry Winkler said: "Robin Williams was like no other. To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold. Robin you are an angel now !!! Rest in peace."

Click here for tributes, photos, videos and some of Robin Williams' best moments

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123

Irish Independent

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