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Updated: 08/13/2014 08:00:04AM

Actor’s death puts public face on private pain

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Actor Robin Williams arrives to attend the 2006 New York Film Critics Circle Awards in New York in this January 7, 2007 file photo. Williams was found dead on August 11, 2014 at his home in Northern California from an apparent suicide, Marin County Sheriff's Office said. He was 63. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT OBITUARY)


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The sudden and tragic death of actor and comedian Robin Williams of an apparent suicide in his California home Monday cast a glaring spotlight on an often-misunderstood and maligned disease that claims tens of thousands American lives each year.

In a statement, Williams’ publicist revealed the 63-year-old Midwest native, who publicly shared his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, also had been battling severe depression — a mood disorder that has been widely shown to increase the risk of suicide.

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