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Death of actor who loved all aspects of cycling suspected to been suicide

Many in the cycling community have joined others from around the world in paying tribute to comedian Robin Williams, who has died in an apparent suicide at the age of 63.

The actor, the star of films such as Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting – for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor – was present on the Champs-Elysees for the conclusion of some of Lance Armstrong’s seven victories in the Tour de France.

The Texan – who has now of course had those titles taken away from him following his lifetime ban for doping – was among those who took to Twitter to pay tribute to his friend.

 

 

Team Sky, which Williams was a fan of, also tweeted its condolences.

 

 

With Williams believed to have taken his own life and known to have been suffering from depression, Sky’s Fran Millar tweeted:

 

 

Tributes also came in from members of the cycling press who had crossed paths with Williams, with Andrew Hood, who interviewed him for Procycling in 2001, saying:

 

 

Hood’s then editor, Jeremy Whittle, added:

 

 

Wiliams wasn’t just someone who went to hang out at big races such as the Tour de France, however; he was a huge fan of all things cycling, and passionate about riding. Race Radio tweeted:

 

 

Bicycle SA meanwhile tweeted a picture showing Williams pulling a trick on a bike.

 

 

 InCycle posted its own tribute to Williams, a photomontage of some pictures of him on and off the bike.

 

Even Eddy Merckx, considered the greatest male cyclist ever, has paid tribute to Williams. He told Belgium's VRT Radio 1: "He was a big cycling fan and that's how I got to know him."

"I am shocked at Robin Williams' death. I found him to be a very pleasant person. He was a big fan of Lance Armstrong and I got to know him at the Tour de France.

"On my 60th birthday he gave me the script for the film "Insomnia". I didn't really know him that well, but he was a very nice person to spend an evening with."

"He had a great sense of humour and he was a cycling fanatic. He was above all a big friend of Lance Armstrong, but he knew me and what I had won. If you are a cycling fanatic then you've heard of Merckx. I've cycled with him a few times over in America."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 1 year ago
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I quite often bumped into him here as he used to come over and stay in Billy Connolly's house. So when I was cycling upright I had some brief chats with him on the bike. When I got my trike. I had an even longer chat with him. So I was quite upset when I heard the news lastnight.

I am just going to copy my tweets after finding out. because I can't find the words to express how I feel.

"I feel physically sick. Not long after I got my trike, I was out and a cyclist pulled alongside asking questions and talking away. It took me a couple of minutes to work out it was Robin Williams, we stopped, he bought me something to eat and we chatted for a while. He inspired me to keep going, no matter what life threw at me or what others thought, just a kind and normal guy in my eyes. Quite sad."

The time we chatted and had lunch, I spent a couple of hours with him, talked about depression and various other things. The one thing that springs to mind was his comment about getting help. He said that many people are not strong enough to ask and seek help, they take the cowards way out and commit suicide, so when I heard that is what he might have done. I really hit me for six.

I'll admit, I never properly knew him outside of our chats, but I shed a few tears lastnight and couldn't sleep for going through all the things we talked about.

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notfastenough [3673 posts] 1 year ago
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RIP. Such a sad event. IMHO, he was at his funniest when just chatting to people.

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batch2103 [6 posts] 1 year ago
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Depression is always there. Just some days is more there than others. What a tragic lose of a true comic genius.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 1 year ago
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Some apposite Uncle Walt:

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

A sad passing.

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Simon E [2652 posts] 1 year ago
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Keith, there's nothing wrong with shedding a few tears. You are fortunate to have those experiences to remember.

On his comment about getting help, sadly good psych help is difficult to find and it doesn't always work the way one might hope. But it's still better than the hopeless feeling that you can't and that there's no light at the end of the tunnel, which is what happens to far too many people. www.mind.org.uk is a good place to start and a great charity to support.

Let's hope that something positive comes from his death - if nothing else, that more people have a better understanding about how mental health can affect anyone.

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Beaufort [270 posts] 1 year ago
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Whenever the mind is frazzled, going for a long bike ride really helps. I wish Robin had've just gone for a ride.

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notfastenough [3673 posts] 1 year ago
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@Beaufort, I know what you're getting at, but what kind of a dark place does one need to be in, to think that this is the only way out? I can only speculate that in this state of mind, it would be immensely difficult to motivate yourself to lift a finger to do even the slightest thing, let alone venture outside.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Beaufort wrote:

Whenever the mind is frazzled, going for a long bike ride really helps. I wish Robin had've just gone for a ride.

You could also say that without cycling he may have ended his life much sooner.

But that's pure speculation on my part as I don't know anything of his circumstances, but suicide is rarely a snap decision that comes from nowhere.

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Simon E [2652 posts] 1 year ago
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notfastenough wrote:

what kind of a dark place does one need to be in, to think that this is the only way out

You wouldn't want to know, but Graeme Obree's book The Flying Scotsman may give you a fair idea. You could start with this interview - http://road.cc/48491

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K Stand Ken [59 posts] 1 year ago
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Except for “Awakenings” and “Mork and Mindy” I wasn’t a fan of Robin William's work, but I do recall seeing him interviewed on TV, I think by Parky.
This was some years back and he reduced me to ROFL with his comic genius including mimicry of various celebrities, in particular Ronald Reagan.
As has been indicated above it's a very great shame our communal love of two wheeled activities could not sustain him through his affliction.
R.I.P. Robin.