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Published: Tuesday, 8/12/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Robin Williams apparently hanged self with belt

Entertainer last seen alive Sunday night; body found by comedian’s personal assistant

Flowers are placed in memory of Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles on Monday. Authorities say the Academy Award winner was found dead in his home of an apparent suicide. Flowers are placed in memory of Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles on Monday. Authorities say the Academy Award winner was found dead in his home of an apparent suicide.

Williams Williams

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Authorities on Tuesday detailed how Robin Williams’ took his life, saying the actor and comedian hanged himself with a belt in a bedroom of his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Marin County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd said Mr. Williams was last seen alive by his wife Sunday night when she went to bed. She woke up the next morning and left, thinking he was still asleep elsewhere in the home.

Shortly after that, Mr. Williams’ personal assistant came to the Tiburon home and became concerned when Mr. Williams failed to respond to knocks at a door. The assistant found the 63-year-old actor clothed and dead in a bedroom.

Lieutenant Boyd said all evidence indicates Mr. Williams, star of Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning, Vietnam, and dozens of other films, committed suicide by hanging himself. But he said a final ruling will be made once toxicology reports and interviews with witnesses are complete.

The condition of the body indicated he had been dead for at least a few hours, Lieutenant Boyd said. Mr. Williams also had superficial cuts on his wrist, and a pocketknife was found nearby.

Mr. Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, Lieutenant Boyd said. He would not say whether the actor left a suicide note.

“We still have people we want to speak with so there is some information we’re going to withhold,” Lieutenant Boyd said. “We’re not discussing the note or a note at this point as the investigation is ongoing.”

It was no secret that the Oscar-winning actor for years had dealt with periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression — he made reference to it in his comedy routines. Just last month, Mr. Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.

When he sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse that followed 20 years of sobriety, he joked about falling off the wagon: “I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open.”

Likewise, when word spread about his struggles with drugs in the early 1980s, Mr. Williams responded with a joke that for a time became a catchphrase for his generation’s recreational drug use: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money.”

Word that the actor had killed himself left neighbors in Tiburon equally stunned and grief-stricken. Mr. Williams had lived in the quiet, waterfront neighborhood for eight years, neighbors said.

Noreen Nieder said Mr. Williams was a friendly neighbor who always said hello and engaged in small talk. Ms. Nieder said she wasn’t close to Mr. Williams and his family, but she still felt comfortable enough to approach him and ask him about his latest stint in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Makeshift memorials popped up around the country including on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at his Tiburon home, and outside the house where the ’80s sitcom Mork & Mindy was set in Boulder. People also gathered to remember Mr. Williams at a bench in Boston’s Public Garden where he filmed a scene for Good Will Hunting.

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