While all deaths are sad and all celebrity deaths leave the world in a state of remembrance of astounding or life-changing performances, to me the death of Robin Williams felt different.
Many things have already been said about Robin's character, how nice of a person he was and how he had so many memorable characters that all made us feel something; however, I still believe the reason why so many were drawn to Robin Williams is being missed.
When I told my mother I thought everyone was so sad about Robin Williams death was because he represented their childhood, she quickly corrected me. For her and many others, Robin Williams didn't become a household name until her late teens when he starred in his arguably most famous role as Mork on Mork and Mindy. I realized then that it wasn't really until the 90's that Robin starred in his most iconic family films such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook and of course as Genie in Aladdin.
I realized then that my generation (Gen-Y to Millenials) did not have sole claim on Robin, instead he somehow connected with people across the generations. He was not just one type of comedian or actor but rather every type. He was crude and rude, zany and scattered, as well as reserved and pensive. He could cross the entirety of human emotion and yet still some how remain very Robin.
Robin had a way of pulling his audiences into his performances, leaving their problems at the door and teaching them how to laugh even in the darkest of times.
Then it occurred to me that it wasn't his childlike antics in his comedic films that drew people to him or even the deep thoughts and lessons his characters taught us in his dramas, but rather Robin Williams himself. Robin Williams was a man who truly reflected his characters from the screen to his real life. He didn't hide his problems but rather shared them with the world, finding the humor in his struggles and many times laughing at his pain.
What made Robin great was not the characters he played but the message he seemed to lived by: Laughter is the best medicine and humor can be found everywhere.
That was why Robin Williams' death is the most surprising and heart-wrenching celebrity death I have ever experienced. His illness took away his ability to laugh at the dark times.
With him gone I wonder, who will be there to teach the next generations?
"Kid.....if you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest, then you're doing it wrong."
- Robin Williams