The world is still coming to terms with the sudden death of Robin Williams. In a press conference, Police Sheriff's Lietenant Keith Boyd stated that the cause of death was confirmed to be suicide by hanging, though further toxicology tests would be undertaken. His wife, Susan Schneider, was the last person to see him alive before she went to bed and she went out in the morning, believing him to still be sleeping. It was his personal assistant who found his body after becoming concerned that Williams had not responded to his knocks on the door. Robin Williams leaves behind three children from his previous two marriages.

During his career, Williams spoke openly about problems with depression and addictions to Alcohol and cocaine. He joins a long list of Celebrities who we, the paying public, would consider to have been plucked too soon from this earth. In recent years, huge celebrities such as Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson, all talented individuals who seemed to have everything they could have wanted, were found dead as a consequence of the misuse of drugs. Robin Williams has been described amongst his peers as a comedy genius and it is his manic style, combined with an impressive ability to improvise, that brought him critical acclaim. Indeed, during his role playing the voice of Genie in Disney's Aladdin, the script was said to have been rewritten around his improvisations, so entertaining had he made this supposedly bit-part role.

Despite being known mainly for his comedy after first bursting on our screens in the television comedy Mork and Mindy, Williams was primarily trained as an actor at the acclaimed Juilliard School, where he met fellow actor Christopher Reeve. Williams spoke affectionately about the effects on Reeve's children of losing both parents in the space of a year.

He achieved success on the stand-up comedy circuit but is perhaps best known for the variety of Film roles that he has undertaken after first starring in Disney's Popeye in 1980. He is perhaps best known for Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Hook (1991), Dead Poet's Society (1992) and Mrs Doubtfire (1993). He was nominated for an Oscar for The Fisher King, before winning the award in 1998 for The Good Will Hunting.

He also played the role of Theodore Roosevelt in Night at the Museum, the third film of which will be released at the cinema later this year. Fame however seems to have come at a heavy cost. In interviews, Robin Williams admitted to cocaine use which he described as "God's way of telling you you are making too much money". He constantly battled against alcoholism too and had been dry for twenty years before relapsing in 2003. He admitted in an interview with Decca Aitkenhead of the Guardian that it was fear that drove him to the bottle, "It's just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear." It took him three years to stop drinking and he booked himself into rehab. He also had to undergo open heart surgery in 2009 which was a bit of a wake-up call.

In the same interview, he said after making eight movies in two years," after the heart surgery, I'll take it slow." Although no-one will ever know exactly how Robin Williams was feeling the night he decided to take his own life, it was not the substance abuse but depression that killed him. Patients get treatment for drug and alcohol dependence, though depression often goes undiagnosed. Mental health is still not taken seriously as an illness yet it comes at a heavy cost to those who suffer. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a quarter of people suffer some kind of mental health issue in the course of a year with depression and anxiety being the most common disorder. British men are three times more likely than women to commit suicide.

Rather than being something that you can "shake yourself out of", depression is a real illness and sometimes, as with Robin Williams, has fatal consequences. The problem is often obscured by the method some people use to alleviate the symptoms - namely drug or alcohol dependency, a trait that is particularly more common amongst men. Certainly amongst comedians, mental health conditions seem to go hand in hand, and you don't need to look too far to find other examples. You could add Spike Milligan, Hugh Lawrie, Stephen Fry and Tony Hancock amongst a whole host of others who have suffered from depression. Hancock ended up taking his own life and Stephen Fry admitted to attempting suicide in 2012.Kenneth Williams once said, "All the comedians I've known have been deeply depressive people, manic depressive...

They kept it at bay with this façade." There is so much pressure to keep up the public persona of being a funny man that comedians often talk about the highs and lows they experience during and after performance. Somehow they need to channel these emotional extremes and their cries for help should not be brushed off as, "The tears of a clown." Greater recognition, not just amongst comedians but amongst the population, needs to be given to the devastating effects that mental health issues can have on the sufferers and their families. If we continue to ignore the warning signs, how many more will choose to take their own life rather than being able to face tomorrow? In Robin Williams, though he may not have been able to realise it, heaven has lost a shining star and the world needs to stand together to protect the rest from following the same route. Is this the real price of fame?