Sheriff's Official: Actor Robin Williams Hanged Himself

Actor Robin Williams arrives to attend the 2006 New York Film Critics Circle Awards in New York on Jan. 7, 2007. /Reuters Actor Robin Williams arrives to attend the 2006 New York Film Critics Circle Awards in New York on Jan. 7, 2007. /Reuters

Law enforcement authorities say American actor-comedian Robin Williams committed suicide by hanging himself at his California home.

An official with the local sheriff's office revealed details of the entertainer's death on Tuesday, saying he was found dead Monday by his personal assistant.

The 63-year-old Williams was reportedly last seen alive at home Sunday night.

A statement from his publicist said Williams had been battling depression. Williams' longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol was well-known. Just last month, he admitted himself into a rehabilitation facility to help maintain his sobriety.

During his decades-long career in television and movies, Williams entertained fans of all ages. He won acclaim for numerous films, including "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Good Will Hunting," which earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998.

U.S. President Barack Obama praised Williams as a "one of a kind" performer who touched "every element of the human spirit."

Williams' fellow actors, friends and fans took to Twitter to share their memories. Steve Martin, who co-starred with Williams in "Waiting for Godot," wrote that he "could not be more stunned" by the loss, calling Williams a "great talent, acting partner" and a "genuine soul."

Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams was a stand-up comedian when he made his television debut in the late 1970s, playing an alien in the situation comedy "Mork and Mindy."

Williams also acted on Broadway and continued performing stand-up comedy even after becoming a movie star, delighting audiences with his rapid-fire, improvisational routines. 

Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg, who directed Williams in the 1991 film "Hook," described the comedian as "a lightning storm of comic genius."

Outside Williams' home in the town of Tiburon, north of San Francisco, people left flowers, with the entertainer's neighbors praising him for his niceness.

The late actor's wife, Susan Schneider, released a statement saying, "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 addition to his wife, Williams is survived by his three adult children.

VOA News / Aug. 13, 2014 08:10 KST