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‘It lays in wait’ ... Williams’ lifelong fight Actor hanged self, but reason sought

 SAN RAFAEL, California, Aug 13, (Agencies): Although police have now revealed how Robin Williams killed himself, the Oscar-winning actor’s fans, friends and even family continue to struggle to understand why someone who spread so much joy throughout the world could find so little in his own life that he decided to stop living. Williams, who made no secret of his decades-long struggles with depression and substance abuse, killed himself by fashioning a noose out of a belt and hanging himself, authorities said Tuesday.

The frenetic funnyman who starred in such films as “Mrs Doubtfire,” ‘’Good Will Hunting” and “Good Morning, Vietnam,” had announced only last month that he was re-entering a 12-step program to get his life back on track after months of nonstop work. His publicist confirmed after he died that he had been suffering in recent weeks from a serious case of depression.
 
Still, even family members were caught off-guard when his body was found in his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday morning.
“I’ll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay,” his 25-year-old daughter, Zelda Williams, said in a poignant statement released Tuesday.
“He was always warm, even in his darkest moments,” she noted, adding she last saw her father when he recently celebrated his 63rd birthday. It was a day, Williams recalled, that she and her two brothers spent “sharing gifts and laughter” with their father.
Marin County Sheriff’s Lt Keith Boyd said Williams was last seen alive by his wife, Susan Schneider, who went to bed around 10 pm Sunday. She awoke the next morning and left the couple’s Tiburon home, thinking he was asleep somewhere else in the house.
When Williams didn’t answer a knock on the door a short time later, his personal assistant found him dead in a bedroom. A pocketknife was nearby and Williams also had superficial cuts on his wrists.
Boyd said all evidence indicates the actor committed suicide by hanging himself. A final ruling will be announced after toxicology reports and interviews with witnesses are complete.
The lieutenant declined to say if a suicide note was found.
 
“We still have people we want to speak with so there is some information we’re going to withhold,” he said.
Like Williams’ family members, fellow actors and comedians were devastated by the news.
“I never could have expected this ending to his life and to ours with him,” said Chevy Chase who noted that he, too, suffers from depression.
But, Chase added, “I cannot believe this. I am overwhelmed with grief.”
The circumstances of the death do not help explain what motivated Williams, suicide experts said. Understanding that would require a detailed “psychological autopsy” that includes the review of medical and other records, and interviews with family and friends.
These experts stressed that suicide rarely is triggered by a single factor, such as depression or substance abuse. Typically there are at least two such influences, often compounded by acute stress, such as from financial hardship or troubled personal relationships.
 
Addiction seemed to stalk Williams, tempting him when he was weak and taunting him when he least expected it.
“It waits,” he told “Good Morning America” in 2006. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’”
On film, he played everything from a genie to a psychiatrist. In life, he battled periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression, opening up about them to journalists with self-deprecating wit and making his struggles fuel for his comedy.
“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down,” he told People in 1988.
One of his first wake-up calls was in 1982 when fellow comedian John Belushi died of a drug overdose. Williams briefly partied with the “Saturday Night Live” star the night he died and his friend’s passing coupled with impending fatherhood forced the comedian to quit cocaine and alcohol cold turkey.
 
Also:
LIMA: The doctor and clown whose life story formed the basis of the movie “Patch Adams” paid tribute Tuesday to its star Robin Williams after he was found dead of an apparent suicide.
“The terrible news of the passing of Robin Williams reached me here in the Peruvian Amazon late last night with tremendous sadness,” Hunter Doherty Adams, the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, wrote on Facebook.
“Surrounded by over 100 friends and clowns on our annual clown trip here we mourn this tragic loss and continue to treasure his comic genius,” said Adams, who travels the world with a clown group in an effort to bring the healing power of laughter to sick people and orphans.
“I’m enormously grateful for his wonderful performance of my early life, which has allowed Gesundheit to continue and expand our work. We extend our blessings to his family and friends in this moment of sadness.
“Thank you for all you’ve given this world Robin, thank you my friend.”
The 1998 movie, directed by Tom Shadyac, depicts Adams as a medical student who battled convention to treat his patients using laughter.
Williams earned a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Adams.

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