Robin Williams was just like one-in-ten Americans, he suffered from depression. The famed actor died at his home in California at the age of 63 of suicide. In July 2014, Williams had checked into rehab, with TMZ reporting his depression had taken hold of his life.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Depression Was ‘Severe’
His publicist told ABC News:
He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.
For years, depression has been rife among comedians. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2011, that the Laugh Factory comedy club had added a therapist to its staff for performers. The owner of the club, Jamie Masada told the Times:
This is something we have to do. From Richard Jeni putting a gun in his mouth and blowing himself up [in 2007] to Greg Giraldo taking drugs and overdosing [in 2010], I just can’t stand to watch all of my family, one by one [self-destruct].
From Sam Kinison to Rodney Dangerfield to Paul Rodriguez, Dom Irrera — every comic, they have a little demon in them.
2. Substance Abuse Contributed to his Depression
After his son, Zachary was born in 1983, Williams quit all of his vices. Famously saying that after having a child, one didn’t need drugs. Another contributing factor to his sobriety, was the overdose death of his friend, John Belushi.
3. He Relapsed For a Short Time in 2006
In 2006, Williams relapsed into drinking again, but sought help soon after and got back on the wagon. Williams told Good American Morning:
It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there. It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.
Williams emphasized that he was treated for just alcohol and no drugs. In 2010, The Guardian’s Decca Aitkenhead wrote after an interview with Williams that the impression she was left with was one of “overwhelming sadness.”
4. Prior to His Death, Williams Was About to Enter Another Rehab Facility
In July 2014, Williams had entered rehab again to focus on his sobriety. According to ABC News, Williams was planning to enter another facility around the time of his death. The station added that Williams had not relapsed at that point.
5. Williams Died of Asphyxia
According to press conference from the Marin County Sheriff’s office, Williams was found dead by his personal assistant on August 11. The actor died by hanging, Lt. Keith Boyd told the media that Williams had a belt tied around his neck, when he was found. You can watch the press conference above.
There had also been cutting on the actor’s left wrist. Those wounds were superficial. By the time his body was found, rigor mortis had set in. It can take 12-to-18 hours for rigor mortis to set in.