UPDATE: Tears of a Clown: Robin Williams Dead at Age 63 of Apparent Suicide

The news that actor and comedian Robin Williams has died of an apparent suicide is naturally going viral. Reports say that he has been struggling with depression for some time now. Whether that had anything to do with the cancellation of his last TV series – “The Crazy Ones” with Sarah Michelle Gellar – is unknown.

Much will be written over the next several days about Williams’ career and how he made people laugh. But this tweet from my online friend Hallie Lord stood out because it reveals more about the person behind the public image.

This tweet from actor Gary Sinise, who is active in veteran’s causes, is along the same lines:

Entertainment journalist Bonnie Fuller was just on TV reporting that Williams desperately wanted to stay free of drugs and alcohol for the sake of his three grown children. They were his “motivation” and the reason he entered rehab a short time ago: to try to avoid falling into a depression that would lead him back to his personal demons. Though Williams’ demons seem to have gotten the better of him, his current devotion to his his family was evident in this picture he shared on Instagram two weeks ago, with this message: “#tbt and Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! Quarter of a century old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!”

This kind of incident brings the tragic power of mental illness to light, and many Twitter messages reflect the truth that people feeling depressed need to ask for help:

Though Robin Williams made many people laugh, he could also be poignant, as he was in the scene below from the Christopher Award-winning movie “Awakenings.” It shares a message that Williams would likely be happy to have as part of his film legacy – a message about life that applies to everyone. May Robin Williams rest in peace and may his family find consolation and healing.

Robin Williams and the Murderous Mendacity of Depression

Robin Williams and Divine Mercy

About Tony Rossi

After graduating from St. John's University in New York with degrees in Communications and English, Tony Rossi found a job at the Catholic media organization, The Christophers, that allowed him to indulge his interest in religion, media, and pop culture. He served as The Christophers' TV producer for 11 years, and is currently the host and producer of the organization's radio show/podcast Christopher Closeup, writer and editor of their syndicated Light One Candle column, and producer/scriptwriter of the annual Christopher Awards ceremony.