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Stephen Fry leads local tributes for Robin Williams

PUBLISHED: 09:49 12 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:46 12 August 2014

Actor Robin Williams with his wife Susan Schneider at the 2009 premiere of

Actor Robin Williams with his wife Susan Schneider at the 2009 premiere of "Old Dogs" in Los Angeles. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday 11 Aug, 2014, in an apparent suicide. AP Photo/Katy Winn.

Local tributes have flowed in for Robin Williams, following the death of the actor and comedian at the age of 63.

Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California shortly after police responded to an emergency call.

His publicist said the performer had been “battling severe depression” and officials believe the death was suicide. However, a full investigation has been launched.

Following news of the death, Stephen Fry, the broadcaster - who has also struggled with depression - wrote on the website Twitter: “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.”

Karl Minns, the Norwich comedian, wrote: “So, so sad about Robin Williams. A God-given talent for comedy bested by intractable demons. Saw him perform live. A genius #RobinWilliams.”

Jake Humphrey, the broadcaster, added: “Rest in peace Robin Williams. 140 characters isn’t enough to say how much joy you brought the world.”

Williams - known for films such as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar - had previously talked candidly about his struggles with alcohol and drugs.

He had recently reportedly returned to a rehabilitation centre to “fine-tune” his sobriety.

In a statement, Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, said she was “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.”

Norwich man Jon Rogers aka @BigGrantHolt explains what Robin Williams meant to him.

Robin Williams was a conveyor belt of a performer. Endlessly switching into different identities at the click of a finger never knowing which personality would pop out next. A natural mimic - could do accents, impressions, totally bonkers and leftfield and yet, you could always see in his eyes, he just wanted to be loved.

I have numerous favourite Williams’ movie, but one of the biggest impacts of my childhood was the 1992 Disney film, Aladdin. Not only for the incredible songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who sadly died before it was released, but for Williams’ irrepressible performance of The Genie.

As a 10-year-old sat in Great Yarmouth’s Hollywood Cinema; I had ever seen a character before that was as disobedient, silly, haphazard, yet with the biggest heart. He could grow tall, shrink small, control universes but all he wanted to do was make you laugh at him. I could, and probably still can, re-enact entire sections word for word of his performance in that film.

Just listen to Williams’ performance of ‘Friend Like Me’ – there are more more voices, energy and characterization in the first ten seconds of that song, than in most comic’s entire career.

To me, the perfect Robin Williams’ performance will always be The Genie, and ironically it had to be one of a character not of this world.

If only I had three wishes, I’d use one to bring him back with a healed soul.

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