Veteran actor and comedian Robin Williams has been found dead in his California home. He was 63.
It appears the popular performer took his own life.
His publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said Williams had been battling depression recently.
"This is a tragic and sudden loss," Buxbaum said in a statement. "The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."
Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, said she was "utterly heartbroken".
"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings," she said in a statement.
"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."
In his final tweet, posted almost a fortnight ago, the actor wished a happy birthday to his eldest daughter and ‘‘baby girl’’ Zelda Rae, posting a black and white photo of him cuddling her when she was a toddler.
Williams rose to fame in the late 1970s through his role as the alien Mork in the popular TV series Mork & Mindy.
He won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting.
A statement from the Marin County Sheriff’s office coroner’s division said that an emergency call was received on August 11 about 11.55am, reporting that an adult male had been found unconscious and not breathing inside his house.
Emergency workers arrived five minutes later and pronounced the man dead. He was identified as 63-year-old Robin McLaurin Williams.
An investigation is now underway but in the statement, the Sheriff’s Office said it "suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia".
The statement in full reads:
"On August 11, 2014, at about 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA.
"The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm.
"The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.
"An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office.
"Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications.
"At this time, 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.
"A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted."
❏ Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.
More to come
-with Michael Idato, SMH