Alan Alda's Remembrance Of Robin Williams Is Heartbreaking

Robin Williams died yesterday, and condolences and remembrances are no doubt all over your twitter timeline and Facebook feed. It's a terribly sad loss and all the more sadder because the cause of death is suicide due to depression. Williams left three grown up kids and his third wife.

Celebrities and comedians took to twitter to pay their respects.

That last one's a real tearjerker *sniff*. Alan Alda, who co-hosted the 58th Academy Awards in 1986 with Williams, wrote a very affectionate and heartbreaking remembrance of the actor for TIME. Titled A Niagara of Wit Falls Silent it begins:

Can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair?

Within minutes we were telling one another he was gone. His genius, that had burned so hot, was cold, and the whole country felt the chill at once.

For years, we had watched with awe as a Niagra of wit poured from his unconscious. Where did that manic waterfall of funny have its source?

Alda then goes on to recall how Williams used him as a "taste monitor" for his outrageous jokes at the Academy Awards in 1986, before talking about Williams' depression and how his death might do some good by helping to raise awareness of this condition.

While the whole country, and much of the world, feels this moment of sadness at his death, can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair?

Can we educate one another to recognize the early signs of depression? Can we make it clear to one another how dangerous it is? We all know now that drunk driving kills. But, when I looked up the numbers, I was astonished. Each year there are more than twice as many suicides attributed to depression as deaths on the road due to alcohol.

Maybe our grief can be transformed into an awakening. The man who enriched our lives could be the focus of saving countless other lives. Robin Williams could be with us a little longer.

So sad. As well as his many awesome movies and standup routines, here's another couple of fond ways to remember the man. Firstly a "Good Morning, Discovery" call he gave to NASA in the style of Good Morning, Vietnam.

And here's a rather now poignant appearance on Sesame Street, where he asks "What is alive?" RIP Robin.