Comedy great Robin Williams hanged himself at home

Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:58pm EDT
 
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By Ann Saphir, Alex Dobuzinskis and Piya Sinha-Roy

SAN RAFAEL Calif./LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - 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.

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 had been open about his struggles with alcohol and cocaine and in the past months had entered a rehabilitation center to help him maintain sobriety. But many questions remained over what could have led him to take his own life.

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.   Continued...

 
Cast member Robin Williams speaks at a panel for the television series "The Crazy Ones" during the CBS portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 29, 2013.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni