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Posted: August 12, 2014

Why the death of Robin Williams is hitting so hard


Photos: The filmography of Robin Williams
FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing to promote his film, 'License To Wed' in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 63. The Marin County Sheriff's Office said Williams was pronounced dead at his home in California on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The sheriff's office said a preliminary investigation showed the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

By Lauren Zima

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​Sadly, unexpected celebrity deaths are not uncommon. But the news of Robin Williams’ suspected suicide hit particularly hard Monday night. Here’s why.

First, he was a comedian.

UNITED ARTISTS / "THE BIRDCAGE": “Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! But you keep it all inside.” 

​​There’s something truly torturous about knowing a man who comforted us with humor was hurting so much inside. We suddenly feel guilty for laughing; it’s like learning the friend we thought we knew was an entirely different person. We replace comedy with tragedy. (Videos via Buena Vista PicturesTriStar Pictures)

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Second, Williams was a true comedian. True comedians go for more than dumb laughs — he made us smile with movies like “Dead Poets Society,” “Patch Adams” — with that story about his wife farting in “Good Will Hunting.” The truly talented find the funny in real, vulnerable life; he did that by making movies that touched people’s hearts. (Videos via Buena Vista PicturesUniversal Studios,Miramax)

And third, comedy legends last. Williams was a man who multiple generations grew up with — starting with “Mork & Mindy” in the '70s, through “Good Morning Vietnam” in the '80s, through “Aladdin,” “Hook” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” in the ‘90s. Even “Night at the Museum” brought him to kids in the 2000s. For the past 40 years, children have loved Robin Williams. (Videos via ABCTriStar PicturesTwentieth Century Fox)

Within minutes of the news of his death breaking, Williams was dominating all trending topics on Twitter

Many celebrities and fans sent out their condolences and shared memories, but Kevin ​Spacey may have said it best. Robin Williams made the world laugh ... and think.

BUENA VISTA PICTURES / "DEAD POETS SOCIETY": "That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

This video contains images from Getty Images.

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