TIMES SQUARE — Robin Williams' untimely death Monday afternoon stunned comedy lovers and comedians in Midtown Monday evening.
The Oscar-winning comedian Williams, 63, who attended Julliard and cut his comedic teeth at some of the city's stand-up clubs, was found unconscious in his home in Tiburon, Calif.
"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings," his wife Susan Schneider told NBC News. "I am utterly heartbroken."
After graduating from Julliard, he was discovered in a comedy club and cast as the role of wacky alien, Mork from Ork, in the TV show "Mork and Mindy," which ran from 1978-82.
Outside Caroline's on Broadway, comedian Christina Vasquez, who was about to perform, said she was heavily influenced by his work.
"It's horrible. I loved him so much. He was one of my favorite comedians," she said. "I'm getting ready to perform. He's one of the greats."
She said that comedy often comes from dark places and Williams was no stranger to that. He talked about his alcohol and cocaine dependency frequently in his act.
"All comedians have that pain in them," Vasquez said. "I don't feel like going up right now."
Robin Williams as a mime in Central Park, 1975 pic.twitter.com/hEGprVxfVj— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) August 12, 2014
Williams was nominated for an Oscar three times and finally won for Best Supporting Actor as a social worker in the movie "Good Will Hunting."
Francine Chica, who was heading into the comedy club, said he left a lasting mark on the city.
"It's very hard to believe," Chica said. "He's just done such a service to bring laughter to so many."
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered his condolences in a tweet.
We will never forget how you made us laugh. Rest in peace, Robin Williams.
Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 12, 2014
Actress Mara Wilson, the child actress who co-starred with Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire," tweeted, "Very sad, very upset, very glad I did not have to hear about this though Twitter. Probably going to be taking some time off it for a while."
Other actors also offered their thoughts.
Famously kind, ferociously funny, a genius and a gentle soul. What a loss. #RobinWilliams— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) August 12, 2014