Robin Williams, the much-loved comedian and Oscar-winning movie star, has died, following a long battle with depression. He was 63.
I was surprised to learn of Williams’ passing as I sat down in front of the television to watch the evening news with my parents. Each year we post on social media about Hollywood’s “death watch.” The tweets are always in jest, as are the names of many of the celebrities tweeted about. Charlie Sheen…Joan Rivers…Lindsay Lohan…Andy Dick…Zsa Zsa Gabor…Abe Vigoda. This year we lost two Oscar-winning giants of stage and screen. The first, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died in February of a depression-induced drug overdose that few people saw coming, or even knew was a risk factor for the gifted actor. When he passed, social media commentary was universally consistent in its praise of Hoffman as a wunderkind of stage acting and film drama. Almost nothing was said of Hoffman in jest.
The second, Robin Williams, was found dead yesterday in his northern California home. Suicide-by-asphyxiation is believed to be the cause. Celebrity tweets are still pouring in as I write this, but if it’s possible to find an even higher-profile star than Hoffman for Hollywood to lose to depression, then Williams might be that star. Let us hope that he’s the last one for a long while to lose his life to such a devastating disease.