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.
RIP Robin. I will always remember you as one hell of a friend. I love you and will miss you terribly.
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) August 11, 2014
Team Sky, which Williams was a fan of, also tweeted its condolences.
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 12, 2014
With Williams believed to have taken his own life and known to have been suffering from depression, Sky’s Fran Millar tweeted:
So sad that some people don't understand depression is an illness not a choice and what a person "has" in life doesn't make it better
— Fran Millar (@franmillar) August 12, 2014
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:
RIP Robin Williams: Will never forget interview I did with him back in 2001, with him imitating Pantani, LA, Ullrich - he was huge bike fan
— Andrew Hood (@EuroHoody) August 11, 2014
Hood’s then editor, Jeremy Whittle, added:
One highlight of the procycling years was @EuroHoody interviewing Robin Williams and being unable to carry on due to laughing so much
— Jeremy Whittle (@jeremycwhittle) August 12, 2014
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:
Robin Williams was a dedicated bike geek. Here he is at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show pic.twitter.com/xKsAie9aji
— Race Radio (@TheRaceRadio) August 12, 2014
Bicycle SA meanwhile tweeted a picture showing Williams pulling a trick on a bike.
— Bicycle SA (@bicyclesa) August 12, 2014
InCycle posted its own tribute to Williams, a photomontage of some pictures of him on and off the bike.
— inCycle (@inCycleTV) August 12, 2014
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."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.