HOUSTON -- At the Improv in West Houston, fans and fellow comedians were as shocked as the rest of us.
Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.
"He's so happy you would never have guessed he would be depressed. But that's life," said Williams fan Laura Campbell.
"If he never made you laugh then you were probably already dead," said fan Rick Burcham. "Because I think he hit everybody's funny bone."
"It's really sad," said Houston comedian and Improv performer Dale Cheesman. "He was a titan you know in comedy and we all looked up to him a lot."
Houston comedian and actor David Born offered his own unique condolences. He has such a striking resemblance to Robin Williams that he's worked as a Williams impersonator for 20 years.
"It's just a tragedy. I'm kind of blown away because we feel such a connection to the person we pay tribute to. And I feel like a piece of me has been taken out of my soul.
Born got to meet Williams once and says the actor was sweet and kind and gave him his blessing. But in an industry that he says has more than its fair share of substance abuse, mental illness, and depression, he offered this final tribute in the voice of the comedy legend.
"I guess I love you Robin Williams. You're the man," said Born. "We'll keep you living on so much. I'll grow some arm hair for ya'. And we'll go out to your grave and cry because right now I'm very sad. I feel like when he lost [comedian and Williams' idol] Jonathan Winters. It's just like a big heart breaking."