Robin Williams hanged himself, authorities say 

click to enlarge Flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting," died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. - AP PHOTO/KEVORK DJANSEZIAN
  • AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
  • Flowers are placed in memory of actor/comedian Robin Williams on his Walk of Fame star in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like "Mrs. Doubtfire" or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in "Good Will Hunting," died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63. Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco.

Robin Williams committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt at his Tiburon home, Marin County sheriff's officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Keith Boyd said Williams was found in a bedroom clothed and unresponsive by his personal assistant on Monday.

"He was suspended by the belt in a seated position, slightly suspended off the ground," Boyd said. The other end of the belt was wedged between a door and door frame.

Boyd added that Williams was cool to the touch, with rigor mortis. Williams also had several acute, superficial cuts on the inside of his left wrist. A pocket knife was located nearby. Boyd said the knife had "dry red material" on the blade, but "It is unknown at the time if the material is blood, or if it is Mr. Williams' blood." The substance will be tested to determine whether or not it is blood.

Williams was transported from his home to the Napa County Sheriff's morgue, where a forensic exam was conducted Tuesday morning by Dr. Joseph Cohen, the chief forensic pathologist for the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

Boyd said there were no signs of a struggle and that preliminary investigation indicates Williams died of asphyxia due to hanging. The cause of death will not be certified until the investigation is complete.

According to Boyd, Williams' wife "retired to bed prior to Mr. Williams. It is not known when he retired for the evening, but he went to a different room in the home."

Boyd said toxicology tests will be performed and the investigation is ongoing. Toxicology results will be available in 2-6 weeks.

Sheriff's officials said Monday a preliminary investigation determined the cause of death was suicide due to asphyxia. Williams was 63 and had suffered for years from periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression.

Williams' press representative Mara Buxbaum said the actor had been battling severe depression recently. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program.

Coroner's officials say he was last seen alive at home around 10 p.m. Sunday.

Shortly before noon Monday, the Sheriff's Department received an emergency call from the home, where the star of "Good Will Hunting," ''Mrs. Doubtfire," ''Good Morning, Vietnam" and dozens of other films was pronounced dead.

Williams made reference to his substance abuse and depression in his comedy routines, including when he sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse that followed 20 years of sobriety.

Williams joked about that fall off the wagon during a comedy tour, saying: "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 he 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."

Fans and friends placed bouquets, candles and personal notes in front of the locked gates of Williams' house.

The Antonio family visited Williams' home Tuesday morning, driving from San Rafael about 10 miles away to drop off flowers.

"He was my favorite actor," said a weeping Brandon Antonio, 13. "He was so funny."

Antonio said Williams' 1995 movie "Jumanji" was his favorite film.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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