MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KOIN 6) — Comedian Robin Williams’ tragic death was the likely result of a suicide by hanging, though the cause won’t be confirmed for several more weeks, a Marin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Tuesday.
According to MCSO Lt. Keith Boyd, Williams’ personal assistant found the 63-year-old’s body inside a room of the comedian’s Marin County home shortly before noon Monday.
Firefighters arrived quickly thereafter, declaring Williams’ dead at 12:02 p.m.
A closed pocket knife was found near Williams’ suspended body and marks on his left wrist suggest he may have used the blade to kill himself prior to the hanging, Boyd said. A dried, blood-like substance was also visible on the knife, Boyd said, though testing of the knife has not been completed.
William’s wife went to sleep in a separate room around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Boyd told reporters, and left the home the next morning thinking her husband was still asleep.
A preliminary examination of Williams suggests there was no struggle before his death. Results of a toxicology report will be back in two to six weeks, according to Boyd.
Some information not released yet
The condition of the body indicated Williams had been dead for at least a few 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 for years had dealt with periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression — he made reference to it 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 the actor 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, at his Tiburon home and outside the house where the ’80s sitcom “Mork &Mindy” was set in Boulder, Colorado. People also gathered to remember Williams at a bench in Boston’s Public Garden where he filmed a scene for “Good Will Hunting.”
Ben Affleck, a co-star and co-writer on that movie, was among the legions of friends and fans who shared tributes online.
“Robin had a ton of love & did so much for so many,” Affleck tweeted. “He made Matt & my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report