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SAN RAFAEL, CA (RNN) - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his Northern California home. He was 63 years old.
According to a news release issued by the Marin County, CA, Sheriff's Office, his body was found on Monday at about 11:55 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m. PT.
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.
Robin had batted severe depression and in July had checked himself into rehab to maintain sobriety. He had been sober, and he wanted to maintain that sobriety, CNN reported.
In a statement to CNN, Williams' 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.”
While his publicist wouldn't confirm that it was a suicide, they did issue this statement. “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.”
Born to a model and an auto-industry executive in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Williams was a Juilliard School-trained actor.
Known for being a manic standup comic in the 1970s, he broke into the mainstream as Mork from Ork in Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982.
His breakthrough dramatic role came as the lead in The World According to Garp, a movie adapted from the John Irving novel. While there were some stumbles, his many subsequent movie and television roles dominated for the next three decades, including Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989) and Awakenings, which also starred Robert DeNiro (1990).
In 1991, he used his childlike demeanor to bring Peter Pan to life against Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook in Hook.
His improvisation and creativity brought humor and humanity to the blue, larger-than-life Genie in Aladdin (1992). Also in the '90s, he starred in Toys (1992), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996) and Patch Adams (1998).
Williams was not afraid to take on dark roles, like One Hour Photo and the dark comedy Death to Smoochy, both released in 2002. He went on to voice penguins in Happy Feet (2006) and Happy Feet Two (2011). He brought Teddy Roosevelt to life in the Night at the Museum movies, with the final installment coming out later this year.
He returned to television last year in the CBS series The Crazy Ones, where he was reunited with his former Mork & Mindy co-star, actress Pam Dawber. The show was canceled after one season.
"Our entertainment community has lost an immense talent, a true inspiration, and a creative genius, and his remarkable legacy will forever be immortalized in his vast and impressive body of work," the Recording Academy said in a statement.
He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Dec. 12, 1990.
Along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, Williams hosted 16 Comic Relief telethons, bringing rising and well-known comics together to fight hunger.
Through the years, Williams battled alcoholism and drug abuse, and was very public about his battle during his recovery. He went to rehab twice before returning for a third time in January 2014. In 2009, he was forced to cancel several shows during his one-man comedy shows to undergo surgery for heart problems.
"What happens to people, basically, start the process of just saying no and being among others, you know, and learning you're not alone and working on giving up," Williams said on Larry King Live in 2007.
Fellow comedic actor Steve Martin tweeted his grief, saying: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."
The Crazy Ones co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar simply tweeted a collage of the two of them together.
The folks at Sesame Streettweeted: "We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile."
A touching message from The Academy of Motion Pictures shows Aladdin, the title character from Disney's Aladdin, and Genie, voiced by Williams, embracing. The tweet reads: "Genie, you're free."
The White House issued a statement, saying: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But 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. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."
He is survived by his third wife, Susan, and three children, Zelda, Cody and Zachary.