RIP, Robin Williams: A Comic Genius Lost to Suicide

3 years ago

When I learned that Robin Williams died at his home in Northern California today, I couldn't believe it, so I went online looking for sources to confirm. I found the release by the Marin Sheriff Department, with the heartbreaking phrase that "at this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia."

A portrait from 2002. Image: © Globe Photos/

I saw multiple sources reporting a statement from his press rep:

"Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late," his rep Mara Buxbaum said. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."

I found a news story from last month, which I had missed, saying Williams had checked himself into rehab.

But one of the first things that came up in my search was this gag reel from his recently released The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, cracking up on set with Mila Kunis and Peter Dinklage:

That's how I want to remember this icon of my childhood.

And the news that he was preparing for a sequel to his most beloved role, Mrs. Doubtfire, just makes it so, so clear: Depression is a terrible disease.

I hear this news and I think of all my friends and colleagues and people I follow who have been so brave to talk about their own experiences. Jenna, and A'Driane, Morgan, Katherine, Elizabeth, Feminista ... and so many more.

And I remember suicidal depression, how it was for me, and I think about how it could be again.

It only take a moment to lose the war with depression. Be vigilant. Be brave. You do not fight alone. We're here. #depressionlies

— TheBloggess (@TheBloggess) August 11, 2014

You can be brilliant, funny, rich and beloved the world over and still be unable to climb out of the darkness.

— Matt B. Redmond (@mattredmond) August 11, 2014

But mostly, today, I remember the genie:

I can't believe the genie is dead

— Mr Steal Yo Curls (@Gordehh) August 11, 2014

And Mork:

Adored since Mork & Mindy (1978), Robin Williams' amazing filmography here: #RIPRobinWilliams

— SaraJoyM (@Tempibones) August 11, 2014

Mork from Ork: Rare evidence that aliens can be smart, clever, articulate & funny. Robin Williams, RIP

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 11, 2014

And the witty, warm person he was:

When I name my fav movie moments, my fav "Actor's Studio" interview It's "Robin Williams." When I name celebs who give back, it's Robin, too

— Helen Jonsen (@Helen_Jonsen) August 11, 2014

In 2009. Image: © Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA Press

"Oh captain, my captain." Image: © Touchstone Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/

With Mindy. Image: © Globe Photos/

With Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for Comic Relief. Image: © Globe Photos/

If you need to talk to someone, visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK.

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