The news that actor Robin Williams was found dead today has shocked and saddened the world, but it hit especially close to home in the Bay Area, where he spent his teenage years and lived much of his adult life.
Chronicle columnist and esteemed rock critic Ben Fong-Torres, who had interviewed Williams, tells ABC7 that he was "so important in San Francisco" and "part of the community." Listen to the entire interview here.
Local comedian and friend to Williams for 38 years, Bob Sarlatte, tells CBS San Francisco that he "really didn’t expect this." "A whole generation grew up with him and I was fortunate enough to have grown up with him comedically," Sarlatte says.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has issued this statement:
“San Francisco mourns the profound loss of Robin Williams who inspired us with his comedy and art. His legacy has had a deep and inspiring impact on our City and on our residents.
His ties to San Francisco were deep, having found early success in our City’s comedy clubs with his popular stand-up routines and where he was destined to launch a successful career that included starring roles in classic television shows and big screen success including an Academy Award.
Despite his success, he has never forgotten San Francisco. He was a philanthropist who gave generously, and he was a friend of the City.
San Francisco is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Robin Williams who forever changed the world with laughter and joy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of mourning.”
On Twitter, the 49ers, San Francisco Giants, and more are paying tribute.
We are very saddened to learn the passing of Robin Williams. Rest in Peace dear friend. pic.twitter.com/2mGIUntwIY— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 11, 2014
The national response includes this touching statement from President Barack Obama, in which he calls Williams "one of a kind."
And, file under f*cked up, an editor at Business Insider tweeted that ABC was covering the news via helicopter over the Tiburon home where Williams died.
San Francisco’s local ABC station has a helicopter flying of Robin Williams’ house, streaming live video.— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) August 12, 2014
Update: After some ganging up on Twitter, it appears ABC's link to "live aerial coverage" has been removed.
Update 2: Fong-Torres and other friends are quoted in the Chronicle's locally focused obit. And columnist Leah Garchik penned a piece of her own, and published these direct quotes from fellow comedians and friends..
And local author Armistead Maupin tweeted the following, with a fairly recent photo of Williams shot in New York.