US actor and comedian Robin Williams has been found dead at his California home in an apparent suicide.

The 63-year-old was pronounced dead by Marin County Police shortly after his body was discovered around midday local time on Monday.

Williams had recently returned home from rehabilitation and had been battling severe depression.

In a statement, the police said:

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.”

Williams was one of the world’s most loved actors and comedians, who rose to fame in the late 1970s in teh television sitcom Mork and Mindy. He went on to star in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), and Good Will Hunting (1997), for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

He also won the hearts of children for generations for his roles as the Genie in Aladdin (1992), and the father figure in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Jumanji (1995).

Tributes have poured in from around the world on the news of his death, with US President Barack Obama saying:

“Williams arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.

“He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets.”

Film director Steven Spielberg said:

“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.”

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