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Oscar-Winning Actor Robin Williams Dies of Suspected Suicide

Los Angeles
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Oscar-winning actor-comedian Robin Williams, best known for his roles in Good Will Hunting, Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning, Vietnam, has died of suspected suicide. He was 63.

According to police in Marin County, California, Williams was found "unconscious and not breathing" just before noon yesterday inside his home in Tiburon, California, following a 911 phone call. He was pronounced dead after emergency personnel arrived.

An investigation into the cause of the death is underway, but "the Sheriff's Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia."

Williams' publicist Mara Buxbaum said Williams "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."

His wife, 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," she said.

David Steinberg, his manager of 35-years, said, "Nobody made the world laugh like Robin Williams. My brother, my friend, my soulmate, I will miss you."

Williams, a four-time Oscar nominee, won a supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a wise and morose psychologist in Good Will Hunting. He most recently starred in CBS' comedy 'The Crazy Ones', which lasted only one season.

He was nominated for a People's Choice Award for his role as an advertising executive on the comedy, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar played his daughter.

US President Barack Obama condoled the demise of Williams and described him "as one of a kind."

"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. He made us laugh. He made us cry," Obama said.

A forensic examination is scheduled for today along with a press conference in San Rafael, California.

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'Crazy Ones' production company 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement, "Robin Williams was a comedy giant, and although we only knew him personally for a season, he was warm, funny and a true professional. He was one of a kind."

Williams also recently starred in the feature Angriest Man in Brooklyn opposite Mila Kunis, Melissa Leo and Peter Dinklage.

His next project is the feature film Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third film in the trilogy, which is set to hit theaters on December 19 via 20th Century Fox.

In addition to his Oscar, Williams won two Emmys, four Golden Globes, five Grammys and two SAG Awards.

Hollywood mourned his death on Twitter after news broke Monday afternoon.

"I will never forget the day I met him and he stood on his head in my office chair and pretended to drink a glass of water using his finger like a straw," Happy Days and Mork & Mindy creator Garry Marshall recalled.

Starting his career as a stand-up comedian, Williams transitioned to television as a lovable alien in sitcom Mork & Mindy.

Williams' first comic film role was the lead in Robert Altman's live-action Popeye (1980), which received mixed reviews. Later he went on to delight audiences in a long string of big-screen comedies, including 1993's Mrs Doubtfire, 1996's The Birdcage and 1987's Good Morning, Vietnam where he played an irreverent military disc jockey.

Williams showed his serious side in fans' favourite Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting.

He also lent his voice to Disney's animated classic Aladdin (1992), playing the Genie, a part written specifically for him besides starring in children's films Hook, Jumanji, Flubber and Patch Adams.

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PLACES: Los Angeles
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