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News Story
Updated: 08/16/2014 06:04:26PM

Authorities: Robin Williams hanged himself

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FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing to promote his film, "License To Wed" in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

FILE - This Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows actor Robin WIlliams from the film "World's Greatest Dad" in Los Angeles. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Reporters gather outside the home of actor Robin Williams in Tiburon, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Williams died Monday in an apparent suicide at his San Francisco Bay Area home, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

FILE - This March 27, 2010 file photo shows actor Robin Williams speaking at The 24th American Cinematheque Awards honoring Matt Damon in Beverly Hills, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.(AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)

FILE - This March 27, 2010 file photo shows actor Robin Williams speaking at The 24th American Cinematheque Awards honoring Matt Damon in Beverly Hills, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.(AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)

FILE - This April 6, 2008 file photo shows actor-comedian Robin Williams speaks on stage at the "Idol Gives Back" fundraising special of "American Idol" in Los Angeles. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting," died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting," died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

A woman takes a picture with her phone as others pay their respects at the home where the 80s TV series Mork & Mindy, starring the late Robin Williams, was set, in Boulder, Colo., Monday Aug. 11, 2014. Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A sign and a flower are affixed to the front gate at a makeshift memorial outside the home where the 80s TV series Mork & Mindy, starring the late Robin Williams, was set, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday Aug. 12, 2014. Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday, Aug. 11 in an apparent suicide. He was 63. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Brandon Antonio, 13, of San Rafael, leaves flowers outside of the home of Robin Williams in Tiburon, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Williams died Monday in an apparent suicide at his San Francisco Bay Area home, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

FILE - This Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows actor Robin WIlliams from the film "World's Greatest Dad" in Los Angeles. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

A woman takes a picture with her phone as others pay their respects at the home where the 80s TV series Mork & Mindy, starring the late Robin Williams, was set, in Boulder, Colo., Monday Aug. 11, 2014. Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting," died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Brandon Antonio, 13, of San Rafael, leaves flowers outside of the home of Robin Williams in Tiburon, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. Williams died Monday in an apparent suicide at his San Francisco Bay Area home, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By PAUL ELIAS

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SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Authorities detailed Robin Williams’ final moments Tuesday, saying the actor and comedian hanged himself with a belt in his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Marin County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd said Williams was last seen alive by his wife Sunday night when she went to bed. She woke up the next morning and left, thinking he was still asleep.

Shortly after that, Williams’ personal assistant came to the Tiburon home and became concerned when Williams failed to respond to knocks at a door. The assistant found the 63-year-old actor dead in a bedroom and called police.

Boyd said all evidence indicates Williams, star of “Good Will Hunting,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Good Morning, Vietnam” and dozens of other films, took his own life. But he said a final ruling will be made once toxicology reports and interviews with witnesses are complete.

The condition of the body indicated Williams had been dead for at least several hours, Boyd said. Williams also had superficial cuts on his wrist, and a pocketknife was found nearby.

Williams had been seeking treatment for depression, Boyd said. He would not say whether the actor left a suicide note.

“We still have people we want to speak with so there is some information we’re going to withhold,” Boyd said. “We’re not discussing the note or a note at this point as the investigation is ongoing.”

It was no secret that the Oscar-winning actor had suffered for years from periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression — he made reference to it himself in his comedy routines. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.

When he sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse that followed 20 years of sobriety, he joked about falling off the wagon: “I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open.”

Likewise, when word spread about his struggles with drugs in the early 1980s, Williams responded with a joke that for a time became a catchphrase for his generation’s recreational drug use: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money.”

Word that he had killed himself left neighbors in Tiburon equally stunned and grief-stricken. Williams had lived in the quiet, waterfront neighborhood for eight years, according to neighbors.

Noreen Nieder said Williams was a friendly neighbor who always said hello and engaged in small talk. Nieder said she wasn’t close to Williams and his family, but she still felt comfortable enough to approach him and ask him about his latest stint in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

“He was very open about it,” Nieder said. “He told me he was doing well.”

Makeshift memorials of flowers and notes popped up around the country including on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his Tiburon home and outside the house where the ’80s sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was set in Boulder, Colo.


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