Robin Williams will be remembered not only as an Academy Award winning actor and acclaimed comedian but a dedicated family man following his tragic death at age 63 on Monday. The actor celebrated his daughter Zelda Rae’s 25th birthday on July 31 and shared a touching photo of himself cradling his only girl to Instagram. The photo was Williams’ final post on social media.
He was tragically found dead at his home in Tiburon, California from an apparent suicide 11 days later. The black and white image, which dates back to the early 1990s, is accompanied by a loving tribute that reads: ‘#tbt and Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! ‘Quarter of a century old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!’
On his own birthday on July 21, the star posted a photo of himself with a grinning monkey perched on his shoulder.Wearing a simple black T-shirt he sports a scruffy beard and his cheeks appear flushed. The endearing image is captioned: ‘Happy Birthday to me! A visit from one of my favorite leading ladies, Crystal,’ and is believed to be one of the last photographs taken of the actor.
The shocking news of the actor’s death broke on Monday with Williams’ wife Susan Schneider confirming the tragic loss in a statement. ‘This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. 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.’
William’s daughter, Zelda, had her own message for the passing of her father, which she posted to Instagram:
Williams’ representative: ‘Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. ‘This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.’
A statement by the Marin County Sheriff’s Department in California said: ‘On August 11, 2014, at approximately 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, California. ‘The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams.
‘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 12pm. ‘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 10pm on August 10, 2014.’
From his breakthrough in the late 1970s as the alien in the hit TV show Mork and Mindy, through his standup act and such films as Good Morning, Vietnam, the short, barrel-chested Williams ranted and shouted as if just sprung from solitary confinement. Loud, fast, manic, he parodied everyone from John Wayne to Keith Richards, impersonating a Russian immigrant as easily as a pack of Nazi attack dogs. He was a riot in drag in Mrs. Doubtfire, or as a cartoon genie in Aladdin.
Like so many funnymen, Williams had serious ambitions, winning his Oscar for his portrayal of an empathetic therapist in Good Will Hunting. He also played for tears in Awakenings, Dead Poets Society and What Dreams May Come, something that led New York Times critic Stephen Holden to once say he dreaded seeing the actor’s ‘Humpty Dumpty grin and crinkly moist eyes.’ The actor also won three Golden Globes, for Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Fisher King.
Despite his lifetime battle with depression and substance abuse, the four-time Oscar nominee was in the midst of a career Renaissance of sorts. In December, Williams will reprise his role of Teddy Roosevelt in the third installment of the Night at the Museum franchise.
Williams’ drug and alcohol problems first arose while he was still appearing in Mork & Mindy – right at the start of his fame. His struggle would continue for decades. As recently as this past July, Williams would reconnect with the 12-step program he’s so often championed, this time during a brief stay at a Minnesota facility. Publicist Mara Buxbaum said at the time that Williams was ‘taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment, of which he remains extremely proud.’ Williams was very open about the challenges of maintaining sobriety. He sought treatment in 2006 when he relapsed and returned to drinking after 20 years.
Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams is survived by his wife of three years Susan Schneider and children Zachary Pym, Zelda Rae and Cody Alan.
Tributes have been pouring in from across the globe as the news of Williams’ passing. Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Martin were amongst the first to pay their respects to the late actor, whose tragic death aged 63 at his Tiburon, California home is being treated as suspected suicide. ‘I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken,’ Ellen tweeted after hearing the news.
The actor’s friend and contemporary Steve, who he starred alongside in the play Waiting For Godot, said: ‘I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.’