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News of the suspected suicide of Oscar winner Robin Williams spread throughout the world Tuesday, with celebrities around the globe reacting to his death with shock and tributes on social media.
British celebrities were quick to pay tribute to Williams, who graced their screens first with Mork & Mindy. Williams was a hugely popular figure in the U.K. and a frequent guest on top British talk shows such as The Graham Norton Show. Host Graham Norton tweeted, “Such sad news. My heart goes out to his family. The great Robin Williams,” attaching a memorable YouTube clip of Williams discussing the death of Michael Jackson on his show.
Actor, director, producer and comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: “I am deeply saddened. He was a lovely man who would keep everyone laughing even if he wasn’t feeling good himself. RIP Robin Williams.”
Actor-comedian Stephen Fry (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug), who himself struggles with depression, tweeted: “Devastating news about @robinwilliams — knew him a little and liked him a whole lot more. A brain wired like no other and so so kind.”
Eddie Izzard (The Riches, Hannibal), like Williams a stand-up comedian turned actor, tweeted: “Robin Williams has died and I am very sad. From every comedian here at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we salute him & we say goodbye.”
Monthy Python member Eric Idle was similarly devastated at the loss of his friend, saying on Twitter: “I can’t believe my lovely friend is gone. My heart goes out to his wife and his beloved children. He brought us so much joy and laughter.”
British comedian Omid Djalili, meanwhile, tweeted: “Had the pleasure of Robin Williams’ company 5 times. Each time he exclaimed “Alexei!” & gave me a hug. I never corrected him #RIP.”
In a tribute piece, The Guardian’s chief film critic Peter Bradshaw described Williams as a “superb, mercurial standup comic with a staggering talent for improv and verbal riffing.” He also called the actor someone who “had a big-hearted side, a love of broad comedy and a muscular, intensely physical talent for it.” The loss, he concluded, was a “brutal shock.”
Younger British stars were also in shock at the news of Williams’ passing. One Direction singer Harry Styles tweeted to his 22 million followers: “One of my all time favourites. Movies I grew up watching over and over again. A genius that will be so missed. R.I.P. Robin Williams.”
In Australia, broadcast network Ten is airing Mrs Doubtfire Monday in tribute to Williams, and his death has dominated radio and TV news since the news broke. Australian stars who worked with Williams tweeted their heartfelt respects. Gary Eck, comedian and co-writer and co-director of Happy Feet Two, tweeted: “All my life Robin Williams has been a part of it, entertaining me in some way from stage, TV and film. Such a great mind. Such a great loss.”
New Zealand actor Sam Neill, who worked with Williams on Bicentennial Man, tweeted simply: “Heartsick. Poor Robin Williams.”
Williams was a big fan of rugby and became friends with legendary New Zealand All Black Jonah Lomu. In a post on his website, Lomu wrote: “My friend, it’s sad to hear of your passing. Our first time in becoming great friends was when you had just finished filming Jumanji. I thought you had signed me a copy of the book Jumanji, but when I opened it up it was the script of your entire movie. I will always treasure that my friend and show it to my boys. It was an honour and privilege to have known you. You made me laugh even when you weren’t even trying to, you were a warm, caring man and funny as hell! Our thoughts are with your friends and family at this time and there is a world of us that will miss you my friend. Till we meet again for more laughs.”
India woke up Tuesday morning to the tragic news of Robin Williams’ death, which led to celebrities posting condolence messages on social media to express their grief.
“Stunned and shocked, Mrs.Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Goodwill Hunting… RIP Robin Williams. Original to the core!”, leading actor Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire, 24, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol) posted on his Twitter account.
“The man that brought us so much laughter and joy committed suicide? Who knows the internal conflicts of the creative mind,” tweeted director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth).
“Oh captain, my…terrible news about the passing of one of my favourite actors. Mr. Robin Williams. This is the 1st time he made anyone cry,” tweeted actor Abhishek Bachchan (Dhoom 3), the son of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan (The Great Gatsby).
Nyay Bhushan in New Delhi, Pip Bulbeck in Sydney and Georg Szalai in Vienna contributed to this post.
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