Actor Robin Williams arrives at singer-songwriter Elton John's 60th birthday party in New York .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
American actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away on Monday night in his Northern California home. He was 63 years old.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying they suspected the death was a suicide due to asphyxia, but said a "comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made."
“This is a tragic and sudden loss," an official statement by his publicist Mara Buxbaum said, adding that Williams had been battling severe depression as of late and called on the public to respect the family's privacy, "as they grieve during this very difficult time.
His wife, Susan Schneider, issued a statement as the news broke: "This morning I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.”
She asked for the public to respect the family's privacy "during our time of profound grief," adding, "As he is remembered, it is our hope that the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
US President Barack Obama expressed his condolences to the comic's family and friends: "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit."
Obama lauded Williams's ability to make people laugh, to make them cry, and to give his "immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most.
Several other Hollywood A-listers took to social media to pay tribute to the famed actor.
The investigation into the cause of Williams's death is ongoing.