Robin Williams dead: New details emerge of suicide

Suzy Byrne, Yahoo

The close friend and personal assistant who discovered the body of Robin Williams has been revealed to be Rebecca Erwin Spencer.

“She went into the house for a few minutes before someone in the house let her out of the garage and she left quickly,” an eyewitness told RadarOnline.

The 63-year-old actor was found the morning after his suicide by Spencer who had entered Williams' bedroom concerned for his wellbeing, said Marin Sheriff's Lieutenant Keith Boyd at a press conference.

Entertainer Williams took his own life at his San Francisco Bay Area home as his wife slept in another bedroom, it was earlier revealed.

Williams' wife, Susan Schneider, had earlier left their California home thinking he was still sleeping.

Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant chief deputy coroner for the Marin County Sheriff's Office, at podium, speaks at a packed news conference about the death of Robin Williams in San Rafael, California. Photo: AP.

Williams died as a result of death by asphyxia, said Boyd.

Boyd said Williams was being treated for depression and authorities had not been called to the home for previous incidents.

Sheriff’s officials also added that it was the second time Williams had attempted suicide in the hours before his death.

News of the beloved actor's suicide spread quickly but initial details were sketchy.

Officials said the actor was last seen alive at about 10pm on Sunday night. An emergency call from his home was placed just before noon the next day.

He was discovered unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene from what the sheriff's department described as apparent suicide due to asphyxia.

The Napa County Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy but an official cause of death isn't expected for several weeks pending the results of toxicology tests.

His third wife, Schneider, whom he married in 2011, issued the following statement: "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. 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."

His daughter Zelda, 25, posted an emotional tribute on Twitter, declaring, "I love you. I miss you."

Williams, who has been candid about his struggles with alcohol and cocaine, went to rehab in June — just after his TV series The Crazy Ones was cancelled.

At the time his rep said: "He has been working hard and now has a break in his schedule, so wants to come back and be the best that he can be. This is his version of a retreat."

Robin Williams with his wife, Susan Schneider and daughter, Zelda Williams. Photo: AP.

His addictions were linked to the depression he suffered for much of his life. In a 2010 interview with the UK's Guardian, he said that while working on the film Insomnia in Alaska in 2003, he felt "alone and afraid" and that led to him drinking as a way to cope and hurting his relationship with his family.

"I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust — that's hard to recover from," he said.

He spoke more in depth about his depression during a 2006 interview with NPR, saying that while he hadn't been diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar disorder, "I get bummed, like I think a lot of us do at certain times. You look at the world and go, 'Whoa.' Other moments you look and go, 'Oh, things are OK.'"

GALLERY: Robin Williams' most memorable roles. Photo: Supplied

Tributes have been popping up for the actor, from his contemporaries offering their condolences to fans flocking to places he was associated with to remember him. Makeshift memorials were set up outside the Mork & Mindy house in Boulder, Colorado, on the stairs of the Mrs. Doubtfire house in San Francisco, and on a bench in Boston Public Garden where he filmed a pivotal scene from Good Will Hunting.

Not all the attention has been positive. Fox News's Shepard Smith was in backtrack mode just hours after referring to Williams as "a coward" for taking his life. Speaking to Mediate, Smith said, "To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I'm so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry."

Smith was not alone in facing outrage from fans. Former Diff'rent Strokes star Todd Bridges removed a Twitter post that called Williams's suicide "a very selfish act" and replaced it with a series of mea culpas.

"I apologise for my negative comment, and I ask forgiveness for any pain that I have caused anyone," tweeted Bridges, explaining he was still reeling from a friend's suicide.

Earlier, ABC News issued an apology for coverage many deemed intrusive. The network showed aerial views of William's gated home, where he killed himself, and touted the footage with a special red banner at the top of its homepage: "Watch Live: Aerial Views of Robin Williams' Home." The social media backlash was instantaneous from fans who deemed it an invasion of his family's privacy in light of his wife's public plea.

"When we realised there was no news value to the live stream, we took it down immediately," ABC News said in a statement.

"Our intention was not to be insensitive to his family, friends and fans, and for that we apologise."

*Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.