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Robin Williams, the Oscar-winning actor and comedian whose performances careened from dazzling pop-culture riffs to intense dramatic roles, died Monday at the age of 63, in an apparent suicide that marked the grim end of his recent battles with severe depression.

Williams was pronounced dead at his home in unincorporated Tiburon, California, north of San Francisco, after being found unconscious and not breathing around noon, the Marin County Sheriff’s office said.

His death was suspected to have been due to suicide due to asphyxia. His spokeswoman said he had been struggling with severe depression recently.

“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” his wife Susan Schneider said in a statement. “I am utterly heartbroken.”

The sheriff’s office is still investigating his death, and toxicology tests are forthcoming.

Williams spoke openly last month about pursuing 12-step treatment at a Minnesota facility. He was open about the challenges of maintaining sobriety. Williams sought treatment in 2006 when he relapsed and returned to drinking after 20 years.

From his breakthrough in the late 1970s as the alien in the hit TV show “Mork and Mindy,” through his standup act and such films as “Good Morning, Vietnam,” the short, barrel-chested Williams ranted and shouted as if just sprung from solitary confinement. Loud, fast, manic, he parodied everyone from John Wayne to Keith Richards, impersonating a Russian immigrant as easily as a pack of Nazi attack dogs.

He was a riot in drag in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or as a cartoon genie in “Aladdin.” He won his Academy Award in a rare but equally intense dramatic role, as a teacher in the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting.”

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source: NBCBayArea.com

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