News

Robin Williams found dead by personal assistant, coroner says

Oscar-winning actor and groundbreaking comedian Robin Williams hanged himself with a belt in his Northern California home after he had sought treatment for depression, a coroner said on Tuesday based on preliminary findings.

Williams, 63, was found dead by his personal assistant at midday on Monday in a bedroom.

He was suspended from a belt wedged between a closet 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 a.m. 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,” Boyd added.

 Asphyxia 

The official preliminary cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging, he said, and conclusion of the investigation is still weeks away.

Officials also found a pocket knife near Williams and superficial cuts on his left wrist with dried red material that matched what was on the knife blade. It was not yet known if it was his blood.

Williams was last seen alive by his wife, Susan Schneider, on Sunday night when she retired for the evening. She left the next morning around 10 am thinking that her husband was still asleep.

Williams’ publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said on Monday that he had been suffering from severe depression, and Boyd acknowledged that he had been seeking treatment without giving more details.

Boyd would not say whether Williams had left a suicide note.

“We’re not discussing the note or a note at this point as the investigation is ongoing,” said Boyd.

In addition to his wife, Williams is survived by three children.

Funeral arrangements are pending. His body has been released by the coroner facility in neighbouring Napa County, Boyd said.

Boyd would not say if any drugs or alcohol were involved and that the full toxicology report would take two to six weeks. - Reuters

Robin Williams