Robin Williams, comic virtuoso, hangs self

Actor had been seeking treatment for depression

Robin Williams, comic virtuoso, hangs self

 Oscar-winning actor and renowned comedian Robin Williams hanged himself in his California home and died of asphyxiation, said a coroner on Tuesday, based on preliminary findings.

Williams, 63, was found dead by his personal assistant at midday local time on Monday, suspended from a belt wedged between a door and a door frame in a seated position just off the ground, Marin County's assistant chief deputy coroner Keith Boyd told a news conference.

“Mr Williams' personal assistant became concerned at approximately 11:45 am when he failed to respond to knocks on his bedroom door,” said Boyd.

“His right shoulder area was touching the door with his body perpendicular to the door and slightly suspended. Mr Williams at that time was cool to the touch with rigor mortis present in his body,” added Boyd.

Officials also found a pocket knife near Williams and cuts with dried blood on his wrist that matched the knife blade. Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, said Boyd. He would not discuss if Williams had left a suicide note.

Funeral arrangements would be decided by the family, said Boyd. Williams’ body has been released by the coroner facility in Napa County.

Boyd would not say if any drugs or alcohol were involved. He said the full toxicology report would take several more weeks, and stressed that the investigation was continuing.

Williams' appeal stretched across generations and genres, from family fare as the voice of Disney's blue Genie in “Aladdin” to his portrayal of a fatherly therapist in the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting”, for which he earned his sole Oscar.

But many remembered the master of impressions on Monday for his tender portrayal in “Mrs Doubtfire”, when he played the part of a British nanny whose identity he assumed as a divorced father to be with his children.

Comedians, politicians and several generations of fans collectively mourned the death of Williams, who was famous for his frenetic and free-wheeling comedy. The news of Williams' death rippled across social media, stunning fans young and old and comedians who had been influenced by Williams since he broke out in the 1970s TV comedy “Mork & Mindy” as a strange and lovable creature from outer space.

Williams had been open about his struggles with alcohol and cocaine, and in the past months had entered a rehabilitation centre to help him maintain sobriety.

But many questions remained over his final months and what could have led to his apparent suicide.

On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, dozens of fans congregated around Williams' star early on Tuesday, leaving flowers and candles to honour the versatile actor.

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