A Marin County coroner’s official released more details today about the apparent suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams at his home in unincorporated Tiburon on Monday.
Speaking at the Marin County sheriff’s headquarters in San Rafael, Lt. Keith Boyd, the county’s assistant chief deputy coroner, said an autopsy this morning indicated the preliminary cause of death is asphyxia due to hanging.
Boyd said the official cause of death is pending toxicology tests to determine if there were drugs or alcohol in the 63-year-old Williams’ body. Those results will be known in two to six weeks, he said.
Williams was last seen alive at 10:30 p.m. Sunday by his wife Susan Schneider when she went to sleep in their home on Saint Thomas Way in unincorporated Tiburon.
Williams retired in a separate bedroom in the home. Schneider left the home around 10:30 a.m. Monday believing her husband was still asleep, Boyd said.
Williams’ personal assistant arrived Monday morning and became concerned around 11:45 a.m. when Williams failed to respond to knocks on the bedroom door, Boyd said. She was able to get into the bedroom, where she found Williams unresponsive in a seated position.
A belt was secured around Williams’ neck with the other end wedged between a closed closet door and doorframe. Williams’ body was clothed and slightly suspended off the ground, Boyd said.
There were several recent superficial cuts on Williams’ left wrist and a closed pocketknife with what appeared to be blood on the blade was found near his body, Boyd said.
Williams’ wife arrived back home after the body was discovered and just before the Marin County Sheriff’s Office arrived, Boyd said. The Tiburon Fire Department arrived at noon and pronounced Williams dead two minutes later.
The autopsy by Marin County sheriff’s chief forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Cohen did not reveal any injuries indicating Williams had been in a struggle or physical altercation before he died, Boyd said.
Williams’ press representative Mara Buxbaum said Monday that Williams was “battling severe depression of late.”
Boyd said today the coroner’s investigation revealed Williams was seeking treatment for depression.
Boyd told the media he would not discuss whether a suicide note was found or whether there had been any previous suicide attempt.
Williams had struggled with alcohol and cocaine in the past and briefly entered a rehabilitation facility in Minnesota this summer, according to media reports.
Schneider issued a statement Monday saying she is “heartbroken” over his death.
“I lost my husband and best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” she said.
“On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions,” she said.
Robin Williams also is survived by sons Zak and Cody and daughter Zelda.
James Lanaras, Bay City News