The death of actor Robin Williams has sparked several reactions as fans mourn the loss of this comedic legend.
Longtime fan and Clayton County resident Angela Wilkins found herself in a state of disbelief upon hearing the news.
“I was in shock because I just couldn’t believe that he died,” she said. “I’ve always been a fan of his [since] Mork and Mindy. The only thing I could think of was what would’ve driven him to that. What kind of inner torment did he have that would’ve driven him to commit suicide?”
DeKalb County resident Belinda Davis was just as surprised as Wilkins.
“It was a shock to me because people see suicide as a selfish move, and to me, he didn’t appear to be a selfish person,” she said. “He presented himself as humble. He presented himself as a selfless person. I think that’s why it’s so surprising to people that he did something like this.”
Another DeKalb County resident, Danjonas Jones, has been a fan of Williams since he starred as Peter Pan in the 1991 movie, “Hook.”
“You would’ve thought he was happy,” Jones said. “It had to be something ongoing. It didn’t just happen overnight like that.”
Williams, 63, was found by his assistant hanging by a belt that was wedged in the closet doorway at his California home on Monday, Aug. 11. According to news reports, Marin County investigators believe the cause of death is asphyxia due to hanging. A pocket knife was found in a place close to Williams, and investigators reportedly discovered cuts on the inside of his left wrist.
Williams’ media representative Mara Buxbaum said that Williams had been battling severe depression.
Drug abuse can chemically alter the brain, according to Pam Harrison, licensed clinical social worker for Embracing Hospice in Snellville. She says that depression is a mood disorder in which people fail to see the value in their lives.
“It’s not people’s faults,” Harrison said. “A lot of times when people commit suicide, they feel the world would be better off without them. There are people who are depressed, and they can’t get out of bed. It’s not that they won’t. They can’t, so that forms a lot of issues with the family around them.”
Treatments consist of therapy, medication and inpatient treatments, though some people choose to self-medicate with alcohol or various substances.
“It’s sad but a lot of them (comedians) go through that depression and you don’t hear about it,” Wilkins said. “They’re so busy making other people laugh, and they’re crying on the inside.”
Williams is known for movies such as action fantasy, “Jumangi,” (1995); drama, “Good Will Hunting” (1997); and comedy, “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993).
More recently, Williams acted as former president Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 2013 film, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.”
Williams was survived by his wife Susan Schneider and children Zelda Rae, Cody Alan and Zachary Pym, according to news reports.
“He’s one of the greatest comedians out there,” Wilkins said. “It’s said that laughter doeth good like a medicine and Robin Williams knew how to give a big dose of it.”