Oscar winner and Broadway alum Robin Williams died on August 11 at his home in Northern California. His death was confirmed to CNN by his publicist, Mara Buxbaum. Coroner investigators suspect the cause of death to be “a suicide due to asphyxia.” He was 63.
“He has been battling severe depression of late,” Buxbaum said in a statement. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
Born on July 21, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, Williams studied at Juilliard before appearing on the television series Happy Days as Mork. His two-episode performance was so well-received that it led to a spin-off, Mork & Mindy. The series landed him his first of eight Emmy nominations. He went on to win consecutive Emmys in 1987 and 1988 for Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin and ABC Presents: A Royal Gala.
Williams is best known as a stand-up comedian and for his roles on the big screen, from comedic to dramatic, from heartwarming to heartbreaking. He took home an Oscar in 1998 for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He was also nominated for The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society and Good Morning, Vietnam. His numerous additional films include Aladdin, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Jack and Patch Adams.
Williams first appeared on the Great White Way in July 2002 with his stand-up special, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway. He made his Broadway acting debut in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo in 2011. Prior to that, he appeared off-Broadway at Lincoln Center in Waiting for Godot opposite Steve Martin in 1988. Martin relayed his grief via Twitter: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."
In a statement, Williams’ wife Susan Schneider said, “As he is remembered, it is our hope that the focus will not be on Robin’s death but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.” In addition to Schneider, Williams is survived by his three children: Zachary, Zelda and Cody.