World mourns Robin Williams

Actor Robin Williams was like a bright candle flame in the midst of a dark world. More accurately, he was one of those trick candles people put on kids’ birthday cakes that can only be blown out by the strongest of forces.

Williams was a man bursting with life. Always ready with a laugh and a smile, he made sure everybody he met felt important. “The Today Show” reminisced how Williams would introduce himself to every person on the crew.

Williams taught the world the value of a good laugh. Even when he was in his darkest moments, he was determined to make others smile.

One of Williams’ famous quotes reads, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

It was with his small spark that he set about to change the world. In movies such as “Jumanji,” “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1998, “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Patch Adams,” “August Rush” and many others, he transformed himself into a character that anyone could relate to.

The first time I watched “Mrs. Doubtfire,” I thought about my own family. Having been raised by my stepmom, Williams taught me family isn’t as much about the stereotypical nuclear family as it is about love and compassion for one another.

Williams was a kind and gentle man involved in many charities such as the American Foundation for AIDS Research, Doctors Without Borders, LIVESTRONG, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Comic Relief and countless others.

He was also known for entertaining American troops serving in Afghanistan. According to the United Service Organization, Williams performed for over 89,400 service men and women in twelve years.

Upon hearing of his death, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a statement that said Williams would be dearly missed by the Department of Defense’s men and women, so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.

Williams was not without struggles, though. It is impossible to speak of the man without talking about his battle with drug and alcohol addiction and depression. Ultimately, it was depression that won our beloved Robin, a fact that so many people mourn today.

His family members released a statement explaining Williams’s diagnosis of early Parkinson’s disease, as well as his recent battle with depression.

Williams’ daughter Zelda said, “[Williams] was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.”

It is sad to think of a world without Robin Williams, but the best way to honor his memory would be doing what he loved best – laughing.

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